Memphis Grizzlies game previews between November 14 and November 20, including games against: Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz.
The Grizzlies will have a busy week with three road games before returning home to face a familiar foe on the young season. Memphis sits at 4-5, fresh off a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks to open their four-game road trip. It will be a tough task to get back above .500 this week with two of the top Western Conferences teams on the docket.
Monday, 14 November 2016 at 09:00 PM ET Away
The Utah Jazz managed to win games without Gordan Hayward and Derrick Favors to start the season, and now with both back in the fold, sit at 7-4. The Jazz just wrapped up an Eastern Conference road trip, winning four of five. Hayward leads the way for the 4th place Jazz, pacing them with 24 points and 7 rebounds a game. This will be just the fourth home game for Utah this season, where they are 2-1 so far. Everyone thinks of Denver and higher altitude leading to a home court advantage, but Utah has similar advantages.
Last season, Utah and Memphis matched three times, with the home team winning all three games. Utah added veterans over the summer with George Hill, Boris Diaw, and Joe Johnson. The offense is spearheaded by Hill, averaging a career high of 20 points a game. The shooting of Rodney Hood (17 ppg) continues to haunt Grizzlies fans wanting him instead of Jordan Adams. Utah since hiring Quin Synder has had one of the toughest defenses in the league. If Memphis is to win this game, they have to hit jump shots from the beginning. Offensive lulls will not result in a win against the Jazz.
Los Angeles Clippers
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 at 10:30 PM ET Away
The rivalry moves to the Staples Center in a nationally televised game on ESPN. In the first matchup, Mike Conley played one of the best games of his career in a 99-88 loss. Conley had 30 points and 10 assists without a turnover, but not much else seemed to go well for the Grizzlies.
The Clippers have the best record in the NBA at 9-1. While Grizzlies fans won't admit it, the Clippers are making their case for the best team in the NBA right now. LA is on a six-game winning streak, and with Brooklyn coming to town on Monday, will very likely be winners of seven straight when things tip off Wednesday. Memphis always is ready to play the Clippers, but without consistent shot makers, this is a tough game for the Grizzlies. Memphis may be stuck in waiting for Parsons to get healthy, but to win this game, Memphis will have to make it ugly. The lower scoring the game, the better chance the Grizz have. A shootout leads to a Clippers win most likely. LA is averaging 107 points a game, while Memphis is 27th in the league at 97 points a game.
Friday, 18 November 2016 at 08:30 PM ET Away
Memphis ends the road trip with their second divisional matchup of the season and the first against Dallas. The Mavs have stumbled out of the gate with a 2-6 record, but injuries have played a big role. New addition Harrison Barnes (Chandler Parsons replacement) is the only one that has started every game. 10 different players have started in just eight games.
Dallas is right above the Grizzlies in points per game. Just one-tenth of a point higher at 97.1 a game. Memphis and Dallas are separated by just two-tenths of a point in points allowed as well, at right around 102 a game. Statistically, this could be a very close game. The Mavs have won two of three since their 0-5 start, with that one loss against Golden State.
Coming over from Golden State, Harrison Barnes has surprised a lot of people with his play. Barnes leads the Mavs scoring just under 23 points a game. Barnes has increased his scoring average every year in the NBA but has almost doubled it from last season. And that's with Dirk Nowitzki playing in just three games. Dirk should be cleared to play on Monday, making it very likely he'll be suited up for this matchup with the Grizzlies. With Dirk back in the fold, the Mavericks should start turning the corner and improving their record. Don't let the early season struggles fool you; this will be a tough game to end the road trip.
Saturday, 19 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
This will be the third matchup with the Timberwolves in the first 13 games. That may be a good thing, as the Wolves will be one of those teams that will improve vastly game to game. Memphis won the first matchup in the season opener 102-98. The second matchup wasn't as kind, but it also was the "rest game." The Grizzlies sat both Conley and Gasol as they were in the midst of four games in five nights. The Wolves won by 36.
It's hard to take anything away from that second matchup. The top four scorers that night for Memphis were all rookies. Deyonta Davis was a bright spot with 17 points on 7-8 shooting, but he hasn't played since. So the analysis remains the same for this one, as it was for the second matchup. The Grizzlies have to get off to a better start. In the season opener, the Grizz were down 20-3. Andrew Wiggins just scored 47 against the Lakers, and Zach LaVine is showing vast improvement from last year. The Timberwolves are the only team other than the Cavaliers with three 20 point scorers in Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and LaVine (as of 11/13).
Leaders Through 9 Games
Points: Mike Conley (18.8)
Rebounds: Zach Randolph (7.9)
Assists: Mike Conley (6.3)
Blocks: Marc Gasol (1.6)