An athletic Denver team take on the grinding Memphis Grizzlies in the game of the week.[caption id="attachment_14909" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Photo Credit: Chris Humpherys - USA Today Sports[/caption] Denver and Memphis have both looked great this season. They are battling it out in a tough Western Conference, this match could very well have Playoff implications. Lets take a look.
GAME TIME & VIEWING OPTIONSTime & Date: Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:00pm AEDT Location: Pepsi Center, Denver. Viewing Info: NBA League Pass (see our TV Guide for full info)
FORM HEADING INDenver Nuggets: 42-22 The Nuggets are becoming one of the top teams in the West. They are basically unbeatable at home, and are currently on a 13 game home win streak. That being said, they are really just an average road team. If the Nuggets are really wanting to contend they will need to lift their game on the road, which I believe they are very capable of doing. Memphis Grizzlies: 42-19 Memphis have had a busy season thus far. Throughout all the trade talks they were able to keep their heads above water and have come out the other side a better team. Although the Grizzlies aren't getting the amount of hype they were getting at the start of the season, they are still a big threat out West and will be looking to do some damage in the Playoffs.
MATCH UP OF THE NIGHTThe match up of Ty Lawson and Mike Conley will be a hard fought battle between two great players. Both profiles of these players have risen this season and with good reason. Ty Lawson is having a terrific 2013. He started the season off slowly in 2012, not being able to continue on from his blistering form in the 2012 Playoffs. Lately though, he is looking a lot more comfortable and confident in his game and the players around him. This spells danger for the rest of the league. He could very easily be seen as a top 5 or 6 point guard by seasons end. One of Lawsons main weapons is his speed, just sit back and enjoy the fast breaks he is able to run with this athletic Denver team. Mike Conley has long been one of the league's most underrated players. This season, with his team going from strength to strength, he is getting the recognition he deserves. Finally, Conley is being talked about in the top half of top point guards in the league. Conley is the leader of this team, you may disagree and say Zach Randolph or even Marc Gasol is, but Conley is the engine behind this team and leads by example. Conley fits perfectly with the Memphis brand; a quiet achiever and someone who isn't afraid to grind out and fight for a win. I'm really looking forward to this match up, with both players in great form. Lawson will need to use his speed as much as he possibly can, but don't for one second think that Conley is a slouch. Keep an eye on the quick transition points, Conley and the rest of the Grizzlies will really need to keep their turnovers to a minimum to combat Denver's transition offence.
BENCH BATTLEDenver is one of the best all-round teams in the league. Memphis' bench doesn't produce the numbers that Denver's does but they continue to battle every night. Lets take a look at who to watch out for. Jerryd Bayless is in his fifth NBA season and has already played for four different teams. He came to Memphis in the off season and is forming an integral part of this Grizzlies team. His numbers don't jump out at you, with 7.2 points, 3.3 assists and 2.2 rebounds, but he is a good, consistent role player, capable of adding some punch off the bench. Corey Brewer has been fantastic for the Nuggets this season. Brewer was a good player for the Nuggets last season, but this season he has taken his game to a new level. Brewer is now the leader of the bench crew and appears to love his role coming off the bench. Quincy Pondexter is having the best season of his short career. He is posting career best numbers in points, rebounds, assists and steals. This shows great signs for his future in the NBA. I'm sure the Grizzlies will be hoping he can continue this upward trend, especially heading into the Playoffs and in the coming years. Wilson Chandler is an interesting case. He could very well prove to be the X-Factor for Denver in the Playoffs. If Chandler is switched on, he can score 20 plus points a game. Consistency has been a problem for him though, he will need to continue to find his feet after coming back from injury mid-season. Keep an eye on Chandler going forward - this man could change this match or even a Playoff series.
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UPSDenver Nuggets:
- Point guard: Ty Lawson
- Shooting guard: Andre Iguodala
- Small forward: Danilo Gallinari
- Power forward: Kenneth Faried
- Center: Kosta Koufos
- Point guard: Mike Conley
- Shooting guard: Tony Allen
- Small forward: Tayshaun Prince
- Power forward: Zach Randolph
- Center: Marc Gasol