MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES VS. DENVER NUGGETS GAME INFORMATION
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Venue: Ball Arena
TV Coverage: NBA League Pass
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES VS. DENVER NUGGETS MONEYLINE, SPREAD, TOTAL, AND ODDS
Moneyline: Grizzlies +265 | Nuggets -330
Spread: Nuggets -7.5
NBA Championship Odds: Grizzlies +25000 | Nuggets +3000
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MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES VS. DENVER NUGGETS NEWS AND NOTES
Both of these teams are dealing with some crucial absences at the moment.
The Nuggets lost Jamal Murray for the rest of the year with a torn ACL, which puts a serious damper on their title chances. Murray ranked first on the team in minutes per game, second in points, and second in usage rate, so it’s going to be tough to fill his shoes.
Making matters worse, Monte Morris will also miss today’s contest. He’s the Nuggets’ best chance of replacing Murray in their lineup, so the team will be down their top two point guard options vs. the Grizzlies. That leaves the team with just Facundo Campazzo at the position.
The Grizzlies are also without arguably their second-best player in this contest. Jonas Valanciunas has been ruled out, and he’s been on an absolute tear for the Grizzlies recently. He’s averaged 22.0 points and 13.5 rebounds per game over his past six contests.
The Grizzlies have also listed four other players as questionable: Brandon Clarke, Dillon Brooks, Justise Winslow, and De’Anthony Melton. Clarke and Brooks are the biggest names to monitor here, especially with Valanciunas out of the lineup. Clarke would be the most likely candidate to start at center if he’s able to suit up, while Brooks would serve as the No. 2 offensive option behind Ja Morant.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES VS. DENVER NUGGETS PREVIEW AND PICK
Neither of these teams is in a particularly good spot at the moment, but the Nuggets can always fall back on Nikola Jokic. He’s become a large favorite to win the MVP award – he’s currently listed at -280 on FanDuel Sportsbook – and he’s capable of serving as their “point center.” He’s arguably the greatest passing big man in league history, so not having a traditional point guard is not a problem with him on the court.
The Nuggets offense has still been lethal when playing with Jokic and without Murray. They’ve averaged 117.3 points per 100 possessions over 609 minutes with Jokic on the court and Murray off the court, which is an elite number. Their bigger problems lie on defense, where they’re surrendering 117.8 points per 100 possessions.
Perhaps more minutes for Campazzo will actually help them in that regard. The Nuggets have allowed 3.1 fewer points per 100 possessions with Campazzo on the court this season, and opponents have lowered their effective field goal percentage (eFG%) by -2.3%. Both marks are among the best on the team.
On the other side, the Grizzlies could have some major problems if some of the questionable players are ultimately ruled out. Brooks, Valanciunas, and Melton own the top three marks on the squad in terms of Net Rating differential, so they’ve been vital to the Grizzlies’ success this season.
The Clarke injury is significant given the matchup vs. Jokic. Jaren Jackson Jr. is still yet to play this season, so the team would be without their top three center options if Clarke cannot suit up. That could be a major problem against the best center in basketball.
The Pick: Nuggets -7.5