Nov 2, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) handles the ball against against New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the second half at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies beats the New Orleans Pelicans in overtime 93-89. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
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Fresh off a fourth-quarter rally against the Lakers, the Memphis Grizzlies’ ‘Nasty Nine’ look to extend their winning streak to three in the Big Easy.
WHO: Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Pelicans
WHERE: Smoothie King Center – New Orleans, LA
WHEN: Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 – 7:00 p.m. CST
HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports New Orleans (or you can stream it, but don’t tell anyone I told you that)
HOW TO LISTEN: 92.9 ESPN Radio Memphis
BETTING ODDS (if you’re into that): New Orleans (-6); over/under 201.5
About the Pelicans (7-14, 5-6 home)
The Pelicans kicked off the season with an 0-8 record. Since then, New Orleans has gone 7-6 – good enough to keep them out of the running for last place in the Western Conference.
Make no mistake, Anthony Davis is the lifeline of this Pelicans team. Averaging 31.5 points and 11 rebounds, the ‘Brow’ leads the team in every category except for assists. The next closest scorer? Jrue Holiday, who contributes right about 16 points per contest.
Though it may seem that the Pelicans just aren’t good, their roster speaks volumes about the current situation. Lance Stephenson, E’Twaun Moore, Langston Galloway and Buddy Hield are all extremely new faces to the New Orleans franchise – all of which average more than 15 minutes per game. Team chemistry doesn’t happen overnight, which makes the slow start slightly more justifiable.
About the Grizzlies (13-8, 6-4 away)
The Memphis Grizzlies have dressed out nine players for the past three games. The ‘Nasty Nine‘, as they’ve been coined, are currently on a two-game winning streak. However, the Grizzlies have been granted an injury exception, and it looks like Toney Douglas will sign a temporary contract with Memphis.
Troy Daniels has come alive during the absence of Mike Conley. The young shooter who struggled mightily in his appearances this season is averaging 23 points in his last three games. In his most recent appearance against the Los Angeles Lakers, Daniels scored a career-high 31 points (23 in the first half!). In a world of injuries, Troy Daniels appears to be the Grizzlies’ silver lining.
Although still uncertain, Zach Randolph is expected to be back in the lineup within the next few days, following the burial of his mother Saturday in Indiana.
Mar 11, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) shoots over Memphis Grizzlies forward Jarell Martin (10) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Keeping in mind that the New Orleans Pelicans were the New Orleans Hornets until the 2014 season, the NOLA franchise has met with the Grizzlies 53 times. Since the mascot change, Memphis leads the series 8-5. But overall, New Orleans holds the edge, 28 to 25.
Shave the Brow: In their first meeting, the Grizzlies held Anthony Davis to 10 points on 23 percent shooting. Combine that with his five personal fouls, and Davis was pretty much silent. Memphis has been successful in locking down opposing big men this year. This trend must continue to leave New Orleans victorious.
First-team, All-defense: Not that it’s anything new this season, but the Memphis Grizzlies’ defense prevailed late in the fourth quarter against the Lakers Saturday night. The full defensive performance also included 9 forced turnovers in the both halves. Although the roster may be ‘depleted’, the Grit ‘N’ Grind attitude remains the same.
Score 100 points: The Memphis Grizzlies are 9-2 in games that they’ve scored 100 points or more. ‘Nuff said.
There is no such thing as an easy game, especially on the road in the NBA with the ‘Nasty Nine’. However, the Grizzlies young-guns have showed mental toughness throughout the past three games, battling for two straight wins. Anthony Davis has the ability to score 50 points on any given night, but the Memphis front court has already proven that they can keep him in check. I predict a low scoring game, a late defensive stand (again) and a three-game winning streak for the Conley-less Grizzlies.