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Preview: Nuggets open up second half of season against Memphis Grizzlies

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Basketball is back again

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

After an All-Star break in which we saw Nikola Jokic live up to his “Joker” nickname and PJ Dozier both lose and reclaim his Twitter account, the Denver Nuggets are back to playing basketball. First up on the docket is the Memphis Grizzlies on the road.

At 17-16, Memphis sits just outside the playoff race after having defeated the Wizards in its first game back from the break. Other than Ja Morant, the Grizzlies don’t really have any household names but they are a sneaky good team that is playing great basketball as of late. Memphis has won three of its last four games and will look to end the Nuggets’ four game streak.

The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets (21-15) at Memphis Grizzlies (17-16)

When: 6:00 PM MST

Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis TN

How to watch: Altitude TV, NBA TV

Rival blog: Grizzly Bear Blues

Projected Lineups

Position Nuggets Grizzlies
Position Nuggets Grizzlies
PG Monte Morris Ja Morant
SG Jamal Murray Desmond Bane
SF Will Barton Dillon Brooks
PF Michael Porter Jr. Kyle Anderson
C Nikola Jokic Jonas Valenciunas
Bench Facundo Campazzo, PJ Dozier, Zeke Nnaji, Vlatko Cancar Justise Winslow, Brandon Clarke, Xavier Tillman, De'Anthony Melton

Injury Report: RJ Hampton - out (health & safety), Gary Harris - out (adductor), Paul Millsap - questionable (knee), JaMychal Green - questionable (shoulder); Jaren Jackson Jr. - out (meniscus)

Can the Nuggets carry momentum from over a week ago? Denver finished off the first half of the season on a very high note, going 4-0 on a road trip that included a win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Nikola Jokic has been MVP-like and Jamal Murray’s last stretch of basketball has quietly been the best of his career. That was also over a week ago, and though the team is in a good place it would be nice to notch another win to start off this part of the season.

What will happen with Michael Porter Jr. as other players come back from injury? Both Paul Millsap and JaMychal Green are officially listed as questionable for tonight’s game which is good news, but also poses questions on how that will affect a rotation that seemed to work just fine without them. In their absences, Michael Porter Jr. shifted to the power forward spot and thrived. On that road trip MPJ averaged 18 points and 10.7 rebounds, and more importantly, finally looked like he gelled alongside Jokic and Murray. Millsap and Green, both power forwards, threaten the ecosystem the Nuggets found before the break. Will MPJ slide back to the small forward spot where he was more inconsistent, or could Millsap come off the bench? Is there even a right answer to this?

Buckle up... It was a long week without Nuggets basketball but thankfully for us there isn’t another two day break in the schedule until April 2. For the Nuggets, that might not be great news. 12 games in 19 days can add up, especially for a team that’s already been hit by the injury bug pretty hard already this season. Denver has a real chance to make some noise in the standings during these upcoming three weeks. Let’s hope they do it.