The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips as Western Conference rivals Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies complete their regular season series.
11:00 (AEST), Fri 8th Apr @ Ball Arena, Denver
History: Played 98: Nuggets 59 V Grizzlies 39
Last meeting: January 21, 2022: Grizzlies 122 d Nuggets 118 at Ball Arena
Final Thoughts: Memphis Grizzlies have surged to the Western Conference’s second seed with a few games to spare, piecing together an incredible record without their marquee man, Ja Morant. Denver Nuggets are still jostling for position on a congested ladder, currently sixth but capable of moving up or down one spot.
Morant has missed the 55-24 Grizzlies last eight games – of which they won the first seven. That run culminated in a remarkable 122-114 defeat of a full-strength Suns, despite Jaren Jackson Jr, Desmond Bane and Steven Adams also being out. Dillon Brooks starred with 30 points and 7 assists. Jackson, Bane and Tyus Jones all scored 23-plus points as the Grizzlies were edged by the Jazz in overtime on Wednesday (AEST).
Morant is a chance of returning, but the Grizzlies are a magnificent 20-2 without him on the season.
One of the hottest teams in the NBA in the fortnight after the All-Star break, the 47-33 Nuggets have split their last 14 games. In the past week they have bookended a 129-118 away win over the hapless Lakers with home losses to the Timberwolves (136-130) and Spurs (116-97). Nikola Jokic’s numbers have been outrageous – he had at least 38 points and 17 rebounds in those three games – and has usurped Joel Embiid as the MVP favourite.
Jeff Green is questionable to face Grizzlies, while Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray are not yet ready to return.
Grizzlies dominate season series
After winning just three of the teams’ previous 13 encounters, the Grizzlies have won all three encounters this season. They prevailed 106-97 and 108-106 in the space of three days in November at home, and 122-118 in Denver in January. Ja Morant (38 pts, 6 reb, 6 ast) was the spearhead of the Ball Arena victory. Nikola Jokic averaged 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 8 assists for the Nuggets across the three losses.
The Nuggets are a modest 22-17 at home this season (and just 14-25 ATS), losing six of their last eight at Ball Arena. The Grizzlies are 26-14 on the road (25-14-1 ATS), going 4-4 away since the start of March.
While the Grizzlies don’t have much at stake with their finishing position already locked in, they have continued to take it to teams recently – regardless of how shorthanded they may be. Meanwhile, it’s concerning for the Nuggets to be losing to teams lower on the ladder than them despite Jokic’s one-man band heroics. Their contrasting situations may play a role in this result but I have to take the in-form Grizzlies with the points here.
Best Bet: Handicap – Grizzlies +2.5 @ $2.00