Denver Nuggets vs. Memphis Grizzlies
8:00 PM ET, February 17, 2012
FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Coverage: Sport South
Over the course of the last 2 years the Denver Nuggets have overwhelmed the Memphis Grizzlies, beating them 7 of the 9 times they have met. For this next meeting, the Grizzlies will be waiting in their own den. The Nuggets have been struggling all month long, trying to figure out their new identity after losing so many players to the Chinese leagues. The Nuggets will have to reevaluate their current situation to see what they can change to make a late run for the post season, seeing how this is a reduced 66 game season.
The Denver Nuggets, after jumping out of the gates winning 8 of their first 11 games, have gone a measly 8 and 8, and currently having lost 5 games in a row. They rank first in the league in offense scoring. On average, they score 104 points a game. They allow just over 100 points on defense, which ranks them in the lower part of the NBA, 27th overall to be exact. They are lead by ex-Knick, Danilo Gallinari, who is scoring 17 points a game. The entire team is making efforts, no player is leading the team in more than 1 category, which is very impressive to see.
The Memphis Grizzlies, after going on their amazing 7 game winning streak in the middle of January, have lost 7 of their last 10 games.
They have lost mostly to teams on the non post season end of the line. They are lead by Rudy Gay, who averages 18.6 points a game. Help does come from point guard Mike Conley, who leads the team with 6.9 assists and 2.4 steals. Ranking 8th overall in defense, they have their bases pretty well covered on that end of the ball. They do need to find a way to get their shoots to fall, especially given the loss of all-star Zach Randolph for the season, thanks to a torn ACL.
This is the chance Memphis has been waiting for. They have the depleted, confused and weakened Nuggets coming into town and they may be able to beat them straight up. But in order to accomplish that, they will have to protect the ball as well as the court. They can not allow the Nuggets to run the tempo and slow down the fast break opportunities.