The Memphis Grizzlies are in the midst of a league worst nine game losing streak. Even the Washington Wizards only have a three game losing streak. They will have their third head coach in their last four games as Johnny Davis filled in for two games while newly hired head coach Lionel Hollins could psyche himself up enough to jump onboard a sinking ship.
The only thing that worries me is that the Grizzlies will put forth a strong effort to welcome their new leader. Denver has done a great job of not taking the bottom dwellers of the league too lightly and the only loss to a sub .500 team this season remains their defeat at Golden State in the fourth game of the season which was after they acquired Chauncey BIllups, but before they could get him in uniform.
Should the Nuggets start Dahntay Jones and J.R. Smith together the two of them will be responsible for guarding O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay. I would probably assign Rudy to Dahntay and let J.R. try his luck with O.J. Mayo does not shoot very many free throws and plays more of a perimeter game. He has not shot more than six free throws in his last 19 games and he has nearly as many games where he played 30 or more minutes without shooting a free throw (two) as he has games with more than four free throws (three) during that span. I trust J.R. can hang with Mayo without getting into foul trouble. Likewise Gay does not get to the line much. In his 11 January games he has six games where he has shot either zero or one free throws and he has attempted more than five only once.
As long as the Nuggets play with the defensive focus and intensity they brought against the Jazz on Sunday night they will be just fine tonight.
Offensively Denver has advantages all over the floor. Chauncey is too much for Conley. J.R. can score on anyone. Nene should be able to blow by Marc Gasol at will and Kenyon should be able to overpower and out-quick Darrell Arthur.
The Nuggets did have a monkey wrench inserted into their travel plans though as their plane experienced mechanical problems delaying their departure from 2:00 PM yesterday until 9:00 PM. As a result they cancelled their shoot around this morning. They still got into Memphis before they would have if it were a back to back night so I do not think the flight delay will cause much of a problem.
Previous Matchup: Game 6 – Den 100 Mem 90