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NBA Preview: 22nd January

The NBA has a busy 11 game slate to help us welcome in the weekend.  We look to find some value in the board and finish the week with another winning record.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Denver Nuggets

THE Denver Nuggets look to continue their nice little run during their current home home stand having won three of their last four games in this recent stretch.

Despite winning, they have not been convincing and the strength of their opponents have been low. But, winning is winning and I’m sure head coach Mike Malone will look to build on this coming into the All-Star break.

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic has been at his dominate best and without his superhuman efforts it’s hard to see a reality where this team isn’t a lottery side. His output this season is eerily close to that of his MVP campaign last year.

Bryn Forbes will join his new team for this matchup and will undoubtably welcome the opportunity for a larger role within a contending side after being asked to settle as a bench rotation role for the slumping San Antonio Spurs. Forbes will bring more outside scoring as well as some much-needed ball handling depth until Jamal Murray returns from injury.

Meanwhile, Memphis have exceeded expectations all season long and have worked their way to a 31-16 record, which is good for outright third in the NBA. Their depth and ability to continue winning regardless of player availability has been nothing short of impressive.

Memphis will look to seal the season head-to-head against Denver after winning both previous matchups. Despite both games being close there were significant disparities in bench contributions from both sides. The Grizzlies bench outscored their opponents by a cumulative 28 points over the two meetings and really put pressure on the Nuggets struggling rotations.

This time around the Grizzlies depth is ravaged with injuries and Health & Protocol absentees. If the Denver bench can stay within striking distance of the Grizzlies we could be in for a game.

Memphis allows opponents to take a lot of three-point opportunities, something that Denver can capitalise on and have already managed to do so in their two previous matchups. With the depleted bench rotations, the scales have tipped towards the home side for this matchup.

Over the past fortnight Denver is averaging nearly 120 points per 100 possessions and has the second rated offence in the league. While their defence isn’t their strongest area, they have a positive points differential of eight points. If the Nuggets can score with aggression and escape the non-Joker minutes without much damage they should be the team controlling the duration of this game.

Memphis is a side that excels at crashing the offensive boards to create second chance opportunities, but the Nuggets rate second in the league in preventing opponent offensive rebounds. If Denver can reduce the amount of turnovers they commit and restrict second chance points they can force Memphis into halfcourt offence where they have struggled the most this season. Given the extensive injury report and the quality of players missing I show some value on the Nuggets at home.

Our best bet: Denver Nuggets -3.5 $1.88 at PlayUp


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