The New Orleans Pelicans will be home for a game of massive importance, against the playoff contending Memphis Grizzlies.
Things have been going pretty well for the New Orleans Pelicans, who are on a two game winning streak. That also includes winning four of their past five games.
However, if they want to make the NBA playoffs, they will need to keep winning games. That includes tonight’s contest.
New Orleans will face of with a foe who knows how to wear down their opponents in the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies are currently 40-30 and sit tied for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. Memphis has been on fire of late as well, winners of their past four games in a row. That includes wins versus the Bucks, Bulls, Hawks and Spurs. Quite the run for the Grizz.
Memphis is one of the best defensive teams in the league, something they have been known for years now. The Grizzlies give up just 100.4 points per contest, the fourth lowest amount in the league. Teams trying to score on Memphis shoot just 44.2 percent from the field. The Grizzlies bigs make it very hard to find any space to shoot the basketball in the paint. “Boogie-Brow” will need to work their butts off against the stifling defense inside.
The Grizzlies have struggled scoring the basketball this season. Memphis scores just 101.4 points per game of their own, once again the fourth lowest in the NBA. While other teams struggle to shoot against them, Memphis struggles to shoot in general. They shoot the lowest field goal percentage in the league, making 43.5 percent of their looks. New Orleans will need to continue that trend to win tonight.
While the Pels have one of the best centers in the league, Marc Gasol of the Grizz might be in the conversation for the best. Gasol is a monster inside the paint and Memphis runs their offense through him as much as they can. The Grizzlies also like to get their power forwards posted up on the other side as well and bully inside. That does not mean Memphis can not make threes. The Grizzlies average 9.3 long range makes a game, which is right about the league average.
For New Orleans to win this game, they will need to play smart and tough. While Memphis is a bully, they play one specific style of ball. The Pelicans will need to do everything they can to take the reigns of this game and dictate the pace. If this games goes the way the Grizzlies want it to, it will end up being a slow, painful loss.
New Orleans has given fits for Memphis all season. While the Grizzlies have won two of their three meetings this year, Memphis’ two wins both went into overtime. The Pelicans won their game by three points in regulation. A division battle usually means a tight struggle. Tonight should be no different.
Anthony Davis will go up against JaMychal Green at the power forward spot. While Green is not a superstar, he is a pest to go up against. He is a fantastic defender, who knows how to get his hands on the ball in passing lanes, find his jumper when he’s open and defend the rim without fouling. This will be a tougher matchup than it seems for A.D. Still, Davis has the chance to shine once again tonight.
DeMarcus Cousins will be up against Marc Gasol. Tough matchup indeed. While Boogie has gotten his points against the Grizz this year, they have given him fits. He has 11 turnovers, 14 fouls and 23 rebounds total in three games against them this season. They are tough to go against and really work on getting physical with DeMarcus. He will have to be tough and work on getting control of the paint.
Jrue Holiday will go up against Mike Conley, one of the NBA’s most underrated point guards. Conley is a lot like Jrue in his game, as he’s able to put up the points fast and is a pest on defense. However, Conley has more experience and more polish in his game, while Jrue is still getting his NBA groove. Tonight will be a challenge, but a matchup Holiday needs to get an edge in for the Pelicans to win.
The New Orleans Pelicans are giving their fans signs of life, when all seemed lost. There is a small chance they can pull a miracle run, similar to 2015, for a playoff birth. However, that will have to come from winning every game they can. Tonight is most certainly one of those games. New Orleans knows how to play their division rival tough. Now, they need to beat them in front of their fans by the Bayou.