Denver Nuggets vs Memphis Grizzlies: Three Keys to Victory

Oct 14, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone in overtime against the Golden State Warriors at the Pepsi Center. The Warriors won 129-128. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets are set to play their fourth game tonight, and it will again be a challenge as they go to Memphis to face the Grizzles.

Coming off what was the most impressive win of the early season, our Denver Nuggets finish their five game road trip in Memphis where they will take on Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies.

This is the first time the Nuggets will face the Grizzlies since they hired the well respected David Fizdale to be their new head coach. Fizdale has made waves early, as he moved veteran big man Zach Randolph to a sixth man role.

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Denver enters the game with a 3-3 overall record, and apart from the slip up in Detroit, have played much better than their record suggests. With three road wins already, Denver is well positioned in the early part of the year.

Let’s take a look at the keys for Denver in order to get back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

Nov 6, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) dunks the ball past Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) and forward Amir Johnson (90) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Win the rebounding battle

The Nuggets currently lead the entire Association in total rebounds per game, pulling down an impressive 50.7 per contest. The next closest team, the Chicago Bulls, are averaging two rebounds less than Denver.

Rebounding the basketball goes a long way to winning games. It allows teams to dictate the tempo of the game, create more possessions and, give more opportunity for easy baskets off of offensive rebounds. Unsurprisingly, teams that win the rebounding battle tend to have a much better chance of getting the W.

The Memphis Grizzlies currently rank 17th in total rebounds in the early part of the season, averaging 44 per game. However, in the last few years, the Grizzlies front court has been one of the most productive and physical when it comes to securing the ball after a missed shot.

When they are both healthy, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph have formed arguably the most formidable big man combo in the league over the last five years, as they crashed the boards and pounded opponents down low.

Although new Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale has elected to move with the league-wide small ball movement and send Zach Randolph to the bench, Randolph is still on the court for large amounts of time.

If the Nuggets are to finish the road trip with a win, Jusuf Nurkic, Nikola Jokic, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler must continue their excellent work on the boards and fight relentlessly against Gasol and Randolph.

Nov 2, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) sits on the bench during the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Give Tony Allen space

Tony Allen is an elite defender, who, at the age of 34, is still locking down the best wing players in the Association. The three time first team NBA All-Defensive player will look to contain the likes of Danilo Gallinari, Gary Harris and Wilson Chandler.

While Allen is elite defensively, his offense has always been a question mark. He has improved his jump shot since his earlier days in Boston, however it still remains an issue.

In the game against Detroit on Saturday, the Nuggets were going under screens when Pistons guard Ish Smith was instigating them, as well as sagging off him and daring him to shoot. The Nuggets were blown out in that game, however their strategy for Ish Smith worked on a umber of occasions when, he missed wide open shots that led to quick buckets in transition.

Denver should look to employ the same strategy when they visit the Grizzlies. They must go under screens and give Allen space to shoot. Sagging off of Allen also clogs the lane and gives the Nuggets an extra body to rebound when a shot goes up.

Nov 3, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) shoots the ball over Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kris Dunn (3) in the second half at Target Center. The Nuggets won 102-99. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t settle for long range shots

The Nuggets were on fire in Boston. Midway through the second quarter, Denver were above 70% shooting for the game. They went on to finish the game shooting 52% as a team.

Seemingly everything was dropping for Denver. They were getting the friendly role on a lot of baskets and were nailing three pointers form everywhere. The Nuggets must be careful not to fall into the trap of throwing up ill-advised shots with the assumption they are still, as the kids would say, lit.

Emmanuel Mudiay and co attacked the basket continuously in the opening minutes of the Boston game and that allowed the team to grow in confidence, get a rhythm going and open up the court for easy three point attempts as the game went on.

The Nuggets must attack the rim like they did against the Celtics and allow the three point attempts to come organically off of that.

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