For their first game in the second half of the season, the Denver Nuggets will find themselves in the territory of the Memphis Grizzlies, who are looking to victimize a title contender. Read on for more about this game.
Catch this game live on Saturday, March 13, at 9 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Memphis Grizzlies (16-16, 7-11 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Ja Morant
- SG: Dillon Brooks
- SG: Desmond Bane
- SF: Kyle Anderson
- C: Jonas Valanciunas
The Grizzlies greeted the second half of the season with a nice 127-112 home win over the Washington Grizzlies on Thursday. They have now won three of their last four games. Moreover, they have covered the spread in all games during that stretch. At some point, the streak has got to end but based on their win over the Wizards, that may not happen soon.
Jonas Valanciunas exploded for 29 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in 32 minutes during the Washington game, thoroughly abusing the Wizards inside. Although Denver has Nikola Jokic, just having Valanciunas out there could help slow down the Nuggets’ big man, who will have to contend with the Lithuanian just on both ends of the floor.
Valanciunas has what it takes to embarrass Jokic. Last season, Valanciunas shot 63.2% from the floor and drew three shooting fouls when Jokic was his nearest defender. On defense, Valanciunas held Jokic down to just 43.5 FG% across three meetings. Memphis has covered the spread in five of the last six times the Nuggets hit the Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll.
ROAD TEAM: Denver Nuggets (21-15, 12-8 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jamal Murray
- SG: Monte Morris
- SF: Will Barton
- SF: Michael Porter Jr.
- C: Nikola Jokic
Denver closed out its schedule in the first half of the season with four wins in a row, including ones against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Indiana Pacers. The Nuggets also went 4-0 against the spread in those games, showing how dominant they have become, especially their offense.
The Nuggets are fourth in the NBA this season with 115.9 points per game, but they have taken that to a higher level of late, putting up 121.3 points on 55.5 FG% over their last four games. Jokic is the biggest reason for the offensive outbursts the Nuggets are capable of producing on any given game. Jokic is averaging 27.1 points on 56.7 FG% this season.
Sure, Valanciunas had done an admirable job of containing Jokic in the past, but this season’s version of the Serbian is simply something else. This season, Jokic leads all players in Estimated Plus-Minus (EPM) by a mile with a +8.6 mark. Denver’s efficient offense is also feeding off the production of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, who have been the perfect complements to the genius playmaking of Jokic.
As a team, Denver is fifth in the NBA with a 56.3 eFG% and second with 1.181 points per possession.
Spread: The Grizzlies have become one of the most profitable teams this season (19-14 ATS). Their quickness could be a problem for the Nuggets, though Denver likes to control the pace and let opponents suffer from their less efficient offense. I’m seeing a win and cover of the -3.5 here for the Nuggets.
Over/Under: The Nuggets are 27th in the NBA in pace but are second in adjusted offensive rating, with 112.0 points per 100 possessions. Memphis, on the other hand, likes to play fast (8th in pace) but is only 20th in aORTG (111.0). This looks like an UNDER 227.5 hit on the totals.
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