Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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NBA Preview: Denver Nuggets (42-18) at Memphis Grizzlies (35-23)

When the Memphis Grizzlies, the second-place team in the West, come to Denver on Saturday, the Denver Nuggets, who lead the Western Conference, will be looking for their fifth win in a row.

On Thursday, Denver resumed play after the All-Star break by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 115-109. The Nuggets came back in the fourth quarter and held the Cavaliers to just 18 points in the final period.

Michael Porter Jr. led the Nuggets with 25 points, including 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range, and all five starters scored in double figures. Porter made at least five attempts from beyond the arc in three games in a row on Thursday.

Coban Porter, Porter’s brother and a basketball player for the University of Denver, was arrested last month on vehicular homicide and reckless driving charges.

With 24 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists, Nikola Jokic, the two-time defending Most Valuable Player, notched his 22nd triple-double of the season and third in the last four games. He will become the sixth player to reach 100 points with just two triple-doubles.

In Denver’s previous meeting with Memphis, Jokic recorded one of his triple-doubles in the Nuggets’ 105-91 home victory on December 20. That game featured 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 13 assists from Jokic.

The Grizzlies’ defeat in Denver occurred shortly before an 11-game winning streak that began on December 29 and ended on January 18. However, Memphis has only gone 4-10 since that stretch, having lost its first game since the All-Star break.

Thursday in Philadelphia, the Grizzlies lost 110-105 after giving up a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter and being outscored 10-1 in the final 1:24 of the game. Ja Morant attempted a dunk with 1:12 remaining to give Memphis a 104-103 lead, but Joel Embiid came from behind to stop the Grizzlies’ 27.1-point per game scorer.

Since suffering an injury on Jan. 22 against the Phoenix Suns, starting center Steven Adams has been sidelined with a PCL sprain, which has coincided with Memphis’ recent slide. Adams is the leader of the Grizzlies in rebounding with 11.5 per game, nearly five more than Memphis’s next-leading rebounder, Jaren Jackson Jr., who has 6.7 per game. Adams is also second in blocked shots to Jackson, who has 3.3 per game.

Aaron Gordon, a forward for Denver, will miss his fifth consecutive game due to a rib injury. Gordon is scoring 17.3 points and grabbing 6.9 rebounds per game on average.

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