Memphis Grizzlies Game Previews: December 12 - December 18

Memphis Grizzlies game previews between December 12 and December 18, including games against: Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz.

The Grizzlies continue to surprise one-quarter of the way through the season. Memphis is fresh off the biggest win of the year, beating the Warriors by 21. The Grizzlies sit at 17-8, fifth place in the Western Conference, but just half a game out of third place. There will be plenty of opportunities again this week for the Grizzlies to surprise NBA fans with big wins. 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Tuesday, 13 December 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away

It was in March of 2016 when the Grizzlies went into the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland with just eight players and left with a win. The Grizzlies have a few more players this go around, but it would nonetheless be considered a pretty big upset if the Grizzlies were to come out on top. Cleveland and Memphis each have 17 wins, but the Grizzlies have played a significantly weaker schedule up to this point. The Grizzlies have played the easiest schedule in terms of opponent wins and losses, while the Cavs have played the second toughest. This isn't to belittle what the Grizzlies have accomplished so far. Basketball Reference said at this point the Grizzlies were expected to be 13-12. Memphis has outplayed many expectations, especially considering they have missed significant time from Mike Conley, Vince Carter, James Ennis, Chandler Parsons, Brandan Wright and Zach Randolph. That's a solid six-man rotation for most teams that is sitting on the bench in fancy suits. 

This, like the Warriors game, is a battle of strengths. The Grizzlies boast the top defense in the NBA, while the Cavaliers have the third best offense. It will definitely be a tall task for Memphis. But David Fizdale said that he didn't see a tough part of the schedule coming up. He saw chances to beat really good teams. The Grizzlies ended this past week beating a really good team, and now they try to continue their six-game winning streak.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Wednesday, 14 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home

Even though this game is at home, it will still be a very difficult game. But for whatever reason, the Grizzlies have been unbelievable on the second game of back to backs this season. The Grizzlies are  undefeated at 6-0. Cleveland is 2-2 on the second night. 

Sacramento Kings

Friday, 16 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home

This will be the return of Dave Joerger, and many former Grizzlies assistants, to the FedEx Forum. The Kings may have a new arena, new jerseys, and a new coaching staff, but on the court, they look pretty much the same. Sacramento is 11th in the West with a record of 8-15. The Kings have struggled to be consistent all year, losing several games by a wide margin, but then blowing teams out shortly after. The Kings also have off the court distractions with Darren Collison being suspended at the beginning of the year, and reports of trouble at a nightclub with Matt Barnes and Demarcus Cousins. 

Despite all of that, Demarcus Cousins is still Demarcus Cousins. He is rightfully so one of the best big men in the NBA. Cousins is third in the league scoring 28 points a game. The help around him is wildly inconsistent, but Rudy Gay is playing solidly averaging 19 points a game. The Kings roster have three former Grizzlies players; Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes, and Kosta Koufos. Memphis has done a very nice job taking care of winnable games, and this has to be another one of those games. 

Utah Jazz

Sunday, 18 December 2016 at 06:00 PM ET Home

Two of the hottest teams face off in this defensive battle. Memphis has won six straight, and the Jazz have won eight of their last 10. For the Jazz, getting healthy is the main reason for that. Having Gordon Hayward and George Hill play consistently has really solidified the Jazz as a top notch Western Conference team. The Jazz give up just 95.5 points a game, tops in the league. But a big reason for that is the Jazz play the slowest pace in the NBA. But don't be fooled by the slow pace, this is a talented offensive team. 

Utah is one of a few teams ranked in the top 10 in both offense and defense (8th in offense, 7th in defense). The first time these teams faced off this season, Memphis was just 4-5 after losing three of four. The Grizzlies defeated Utah 102-96, and including that game are 13-3 since. That game was the first of a four-game losing streak for Utah, but health has done them wonders, vaulting them five games above .500 and to the team many expected them to be this season


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