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Preview: Denver Nuggets face the Memphis Grizzlies in a Mile High Matinee

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The Nuggets face the Grizzlies in an early game before heading out on the road.

Gary Harris and Kenneth Faried double team Marc Gasol.

The Denver Nuggets face off against the Memphis Grizzlies in their second home game this weekend. Denver is coming off of a great win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday where they executed well in (mostly) every area. Defense wasn’t altogether exceptional, but it was significantly better than the blunder that was Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings. The Nuggets set themselves up for success by being aggressive early and attacking on defense which allowed the offense to follow—as it always does.

Mason Plumlee was the pace car of energy and effort on Friday, and his work ethic was directly correlated to an increase of energy and effort from his teammates. Jokic clearly wasn’t himself, but his teammates picked up the slack proving what Coach Mike Malone and Nuggets players have been saying in interviews for weeks—that Denver has many guys to rely on, and that any guy can be THE guy on any given day.

The Basics:

Who: Denver Nuggets (26-32) vs Memphis Grizzlies (34-25)

When: Sunday February 26, 2017 3pm MST

Where: 1000 Chopper Circle Denver, CO

How to watch: Altitude, AM 950

Rival Blog: Grizzly Bear Blues

Position Nuggets Grizzlies Advantage
PG Jameer Nelsom Mike Conley Grizzlies
SG Gary Harris Tony ALlen Nuggets
SF Danilo Gallinari Chandler Parsons Nuggets
PF Darrell Arthur JaMychal Green Grizzlies
C Nikola Jokic Marc Gasol Even
Bench Emmanuel Mudiay, Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Wilson Chandler, Kenneth Faried**, Juancho Hernangomez, Mason Plumlee, Malik Beasley, Mike Miller Wade Baldwin IV, James Ennis, Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, Brandan Wright**, Troy Daniels, Jarell Martin, Deyonta Davis, Andrew Harrison

**Updated Injury Report: Kenneth Faried - questionable (back), Brandan Wright - day to day (did not play Friday)

Key Matchup: Nikola Jokic and Marc Gasol

If Jokic is feeling more like himself, that is. Gasol has a size advantage over Jokic, but as we all know, Jokic has been electric since the beginning of 2017 (not including the last few games). We’re all hoping that what’s been ailing Jokic has subsided and that he will be back to his Magic Jokic ways against the Grizz.

Key stat: 27.1 & 21.7

For the month of February, the Nuggets have outpaced the Grizzlies in the assist category by an average of 5 per game. I like to say that there is always a positive correlation between ball movement and scoring. If the Nuggets can move the ball the way they did against the Nets that will allow them to be the most effective on offense.

Three things to watch:

1. Keep an eye on how the Nuggets come out on defense. If they attack and stay aggressive it allows them to take a quick upper hand in the game. I believe this is THE key factor that sets the stage for the windfall victories we saw from them in mid/late January and early February.

2. Look for who brings early energy. On Friday, it was Mason Plumlee. However, on any given night, any Nugget can come out leading the charge. Typically, this begins on defense which opens the door for the offensive showcase that the Nuggets can be known for if they can commit to remaining aggressive on D.

3. Watch for intentional offense. A 3-point shot is good. Getting to the rim is better. Driving to the rim to pass outside for an open shot while making sure not to miss opportunities to get to the rim is best. Drawing a foul in the process—bestest.