Grizzlies vs. Nuggets preview: Lawson, Iguodala, team in need of some home cooking

Christian Petersen

Bear stew anyone? The Grizzlies are in town tonight and they are roaring with a 14-5 record thus far. Having played just 19 games so far this season, Memphis should have some pretty fresh legs.

Loading Scores

2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 24
Memphis Grizzlies (2002 - 2002)

vs
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14-5 (5-3 on the road)

11-12 (5-1 at home)
December 14, 2012, 8:30 PM (MT)
Pepsi Center - Denver, Colorado
TV Altitude & ESPN / 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan
Probable Starters
Mike Conley PG Ty Lawson
Tony Allen SG Andre Iguodala
Rudy Gay SF Danilo Gallinari
Zach Randolph PF Kenneth Faried
Marc Gasol C Kosta Koufos
Notes
Straight Outta Vancouver Blogs You're here.
None Injuries Wilson Chandler, Julyan Stone (out)
6-3 since last meeting & on two game losing streak (Hawks, Suns). Stat 6-6 since last meeting in Memphis.

There sure has been a lot of frustration and a lot of analysis from Nuggets Nation about how this 2012-13 campaign has started. Over is the dreaded: "17 out of the first 23 games are on the road this season". The Nuggets walked away with an 11-12 record and an ugly 6-11 road record.

One could point to the Spurs' tremendous 11-4 road mark this season and say the Nuggets have underwhelmed, but we all know the Spurs have been playing together for years with the same identity. The Nuggets are searching for their identity and they will discover it over the course of the next month or more. Whether that identity will be what the fans want or if that identity will be the up-and-down play we've seen to start the season - we'll find out. But even with some gloom, there has not been all doom this season.

To borrow a line from one of my favorite (and controversial) movies American History X, "... if you can't top it, steal from them and go out strong." I will now steal from reader rxmart2 in reference to the recent slew of close game losses and some of the doom surrounding the fan-base:

But the Nuggets haven't really sucked in crunch time

It's easy to remember the games they've lost, or the turnovers, but we also can't forget [wins versus] GSW 1 & 2, @Minn 1st game, @INDY, @MEM, @HOU, @DET.

Denver is 7-7 in games decided by 7 points or less, and 12 of those games have been on the road. Teams typically lose roughly 70% of <7 point games on the road, and the Nugs are 6-6. Add the fact that the majority of their opponents on the road have been playoff caliber, and I actually find these numbers encouraging.

Well stated rxmart2 ... well stated indeed.

The Nuggets have a combined three wins against the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies this season; and those teams own a combined record of 29-12. The problem has been that we don't know which Nuggets team will show up.

Will Denver have the aggressive and hungry Ty Lawson running the show? Will Andre Iguodala and Danilo Gallinari get hot on the same night? Can Kenneth Faried avoid early foul trouble? Which JaVale McGee will we get: the one who had promise against the Lakers or the one who tries to do a little too much? How will the free throw shooting effect the game?

The Nuggets have done a pretty good job of staying competitive in their games - outside of the Magic loss (13 points), the Spurs loss (26 points), and the Lakers loss (19 points). The Nuggets followed up that Magic game with a fine performance against the Heat (the second of a back-to-back), the Spurs loss with the Memphis win (97-92), and the Lakers loss with a win against the Raptors (113-110). That shows me the team didn't lose any heart. And the Grizzlies are also a team with a lot of heart.

The Grizzlies are on their longest losing streak of the season, at just two games. They fell to the Atlanta Hawks at home, 93-83, on Dec. 8th and to the Suns in Phoenix, 82-80, on Dec. 12th.

That Suns game was a funny one. Not one Phoenix player scored more than 15 points on the night (Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley did just that) and Michael Beasley turned in a 2-11 shooting night in just 10 minutes of action (off the bench). That Beasley sure does like to shoot!

And the Grizzlies got 18 points and 10 rebounds from Zach Randolph, 21 points and 11 rebounds from Rudy Gay, and 15 points, 4 assists, and 6 blocks from Marc Gasol. That's usually a recipe for success for Memphis, but not on a night where they turned the ball over 15 times (4 turnovers each from Mike Conley, Gay, and Jerryd Bayless) and surrendered 19 offensive rebounds out of a possible 49 defensive boards.

The recipe for the Nuggets tonight is simple - turn Gay, Gasol, and Conley into jump shooters, control the defensive glass, and run like hell.

The Nuggets haven't played at home since Dec. 3rd and now is the time for a little home cooking ...

***

Denver Nuggets Tickets

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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