Memphis Grizzlies (13-27 SU, 15-23-2 ATS, 15-24-1 O/U) vs. Denver Nuggets (21-20 SU, 19-20-2 ATS, 18-23 O/U)
NBA: Friday, January 11, 2018 at 9:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Denver Nuggets -7.5. Total: 207.5.
The Denver Nuggets will be hoping to halt a three-game losing streak when they host the Memphis Grizzlies at the Pepsi Center on Friday night. Denver is coming off consecutive setbacks against Sacramento, Golden State, and Atlanta. The Grizzlies ended a two-game skid of their own by beating New Orleans on Wednesday.
Staying out of the cellar
Memphis avoided sole possession of last place in the Western Conference by edging New Orleans 105-102 on Wednesday. The Grizzlies are now trying to secure back-to-back wins for the first time since Oct. 26 and 28. Center Marc Gasol had been struggling in fourth quarters before scoring seven of his 21 points in the final frame against the Pelicans, including a pair of baskets with less than three minutes remaining to keep his team in the lead. Gasol once again got plenty of help from shooting guard Tyreke Evans, who scored 28 to surpass the 20-point mark for the eighth time in the last nine outings. Power forward JaMychal Green recorded his third double-double of the season with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
“The guys did a great job of finding me and making sure that I got the ball in the right spot,” Gasol commented. “We were patient. I thought that we had more movement and that allows us to be more proactive instead of reactive to the things that they try to do to us. It was good. I think defensively, we did a really good job.”
“They found a way to scrap out a win,” interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of his players following the defeat of New Orleans. “That’s who we’ve become, but it hasn’t necessarily shown itself in the win-loss column, but we’ve continued to fight. We fought back tonight. We just made the one more play that we needed to make.”
From bad to worse
A loss at defending NBA champion Golden State does not look bad at all (and isn’t), but a setback at home against the league-worst Hawks may be the low point of Denver’s 2017-18. Now the Nuggets will try to avoid losing to a second consecutive dweller near the NBA cellar when they entertain Memphis on Friday. Denver’s three-game losing streak began at lowly Sacramento, continued against the Warriors, and hit rock bottom with Wednesday’s 110-97 loss to Atlanta–after which head coach Michael Malone was not happy with his team’s effort.
“At the end of the day, I put this loss on me,” Malone admitted. “Obviously, I’m not doing my job to get this team ready to play…. We come out thinking we can just show up. In this league, when you think you can just show up and win a game, you get your ass kicked. That’s exactly what happened tonight.”
The Memphis Grizzlies are:
- 4-0 Under in their last four games against teams with winning records
- 4-1 Under in their last five games against the Northwest Division
- 10-3 Under in their last 13 games playing on one day of rest
The Denver Nuggets are:
- 7-3 Under in their last 10 overall
- 4-1 Under in their last five home games
- 8-3 Under in their last 11 games against teams with losing records
Denver guard Will Barton is struggling through a shooting slump and is 13-of-36 from the floor during his team’s three-game swoon. “Now it’s a tough spot,” Barton noted. “We’re on a losing streak, and now it’s time to get out of it. You learn about yourself (during adversity). Me, I’m a guy that likes these types of times. They reveal a lot about your character, so I’m willing to embrace the challenge. I’m ready. I can’t wait to play against Memphis.” Center Nikola Jokic is in a shooting slump, as well. He went 4-of-21 from the floor on Wednesday, including 0-of-8 from three-point range. The under is 4-0 in the Grizzlies’ last four against winning opponents, 4-1 in their last five against the Northwest Division, 10-3 in their last 13 playing on one day of rest, and 12-2 in their last 14 after allowing at least 100 points in their previous outing. It is also 7-3 in the Nuggets’ last 10 overall, 4-1 in their last five at home, 8-3 in their last 11 against losing opponents, and 16-5 in their last 21 at home against opponents with losing road records. Additionally, the under is 14-6 in the last 20 meetings between the two teams and 8-3 in Memphis’ last 11 trips to Denver. Look for this one to stay under the total.