Memphis Grizzlies game previews between November 21 and November 27, including games against: Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers.
The Grizzlies roll into Thanksgiving week with the third-longest active winning streak in the league. Memphis has won four straight, and five of their last six. While Tony Allen returned to the starting lineup this past week, Chandler Parsons will be re-evaluated in two weeks with a left knee bone bruise. Memphis is playing in cautiously for their 94 million dollar man. The Grizz have four games this week, but they are all definitely winnable games.
Monday, 21 November 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away
The Charlotte Hornets are coming off their fourth loss of the season, falling in overtime to the Pelicans on November 19. Despite the loss, the Hornets have been one of the better teams out East this season. Charlotte is in third place in the Eastern Conference at 8-4. Much like Memphis, Charlotte "hangs their hat" at the defensive end of the floor. Since getting the job, Steve Clifford has transformed the Hornets into one of the stingiest defenses in the league. The Hornets right now are fourth in the NBA in defensive rating or points per 100 possessions. Memphis is close behind at sixth, so it could be another grind it out, ugly game on Monday.
One matchup that Memphis may be able to attack is the center matchup. Cody Zeller is third on the team in scoring at 11.7 points, but Marc Gasol should be able to get what he wants on the offensive end. Gasol has to remain aggressive with this matchup. The Hornets start excellent wing defenders in Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, so the post may be where Memphis has to get a bulk of their points. Zach Randolph also should have favorable matchups, going up against Spencer Hawes and Frank Kaminsky off the bench.
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away
While Philadephia starts this week off with a 3-10 record, there is still plenty of hype with the team. And that's all because of one man, Joel Embiid. Embiid missed the first two seasons of his career with foot injuries but has debuted nicely so far, averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds. He is the clear front-runner for rookie of the year right now, despite being on a minutes and games restriction. Embiid will not play in both games of back to backs this season and is capped at right around 24 minutes a game. When Embiid has 25 and 7 boards this season, the 76ers are 2-0. They are 1-10 in all other games.
The 76ers have other major injuries they are dealing with as well. Young big man Nerlens Noel is still rehabbing from left knee surgery and will not be available at this point of the season. First overall pick Ben Simmons is recovering from foot surgery from right before the season, and there is speculation that Philadelphia will just hold him out the whole season. Jahlil Okafor is also coming off of a season-ending injury last season, so he is on a minutes restriction at this point of the season too.
Memphis has struggled, sometimes playing down to the level of the 76ers over the past couple years, nearly losing several times. But this is a game Memphis should win going away. And it's a game that Memphis cannot afford to drop. Even at this point of the season, Memphis needs to wins games that they are heavily favored in.
Friday, 25 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home
Miami is struggling in the early part of the season, which is to be expected without Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh for the first time. The Heat are 4-8, but the roster is full of young guys that will continue to compete and grow. One of those young guys is former Grizzlies center Hassan Whiteside. There hasn't been enough talk about the play of Whiteside. The Heat big man is putting up incredible numbers of 18 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks a game.
Miami shook off a six-game losing streak, the longest since Shaq was in Miami, to win their next two games. The Heat knocked off Milwaukee and then started a four-game road trip by beating Washington. Miami will play at Philadephia and Detroit before taking on Memphis on Friday.
The Heat have six guys averaging over 11.5 points a game, and James Johnson is at nine points a game. They are very balanced in their offensive attack. And young too. Of the six that are in double figures scoring, point guard Goran Dragic is the oldest at 30 years old. The Heat have stumbled out of the gate, but after the six-game losing streak, this could be a tough game for Memphis with all the athleticism and youth the Heat trot out there. Look for Memphis to make this one a very physical affair to stamp their own style onto the game.
Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Away
The Grizzlies are 3-0 so far this season on the second night of back to backs, with two of those victories coming in overtime. Miami is 0-1 on the second night of a back to back, losing to the Hawks, 93-90.
Playing the same team on back to back nights can always lead to interesting results, so the outcome of the first game shouldn't have too much bearing on this game.