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Denver Nuggets

Thursday Game Previews: Grizzlies continue home stand vs. Hornets; Jazz host the Nuggets

Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell
Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell (Getty Images)

Denver Nuggets (31-14) vs Utah Jazz (26-22)

Where to Watch

Date: Thursday, Jan. 24

Time: 9:00 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

Game Preview

Since 2019 tipped off, the Denver Nuggets have gone 8-3, thus losing their hold on the top spot in the Western Conference with the Golden State Warriors going 9-1 in the same time span.

Everybody expected the young team to bounce back from the heartbreaking end to their 2017-18 campaign but surely nobody expected to be among the West's elite in the standings. The team has come a long way since last season especially on defense.

Their 23rd ranked defense (109.9) last season has improved to 11th this year (107.9). That improvement combined with their top five offense has allowed them to ensure wins in games they must win against weaker teams (talent-wise).

The most obvious and biggest reason for Denver's success is Nikola Jokic. The Serbian center is averaging 19.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 7.7 assists on 50.5% shooting. He has recorded six triple-doubles for the season (tied for 3rd most) and ranks 5th in ESPN's PER (26.85).

The Nuggets have been dominant at home, winning 83.3% of their games (20-4) but leading up to the All-Star break, the team plays 7 of its 12 games on the road.

Coming to the Utah Jazz, the team didn't make a lot of noise until their recent six-game win streak, which sprung up the Conference standings.

Until their recent stretch, where they played six of the last seven games at home, the Jazz had played a road-heavy schedule. They withstood all that competition, coming out with a .500 record and their recent homestand has helped them establish some consistency.

Utah's always been a team that has played through their defense with the Frenchmen Rudy Gobert acting as their anchor. Despite having a rough schedule, they have carried last year's league-best defense (102.9) and it currently ranks 4th (104.5).

Game Notes

  • The Utah Jazz have a winning record of 13-9 in their 22 previous home games.
  • On the other hand, the second-seeded Nuggets have a road record of 11-10.
  • The Jazz will be without four players in Raul Neto (Groin), Dante Exum (Ankle), Thabo Sefolosha (Hamstring), and Tony Bradley (Knee).
  • Meanwhile, the Nuggets would be without the duo of Isaiah Thomas (Hip), and Michael Porter Jr. (Back). The duo of Jarred Vanderbilt (Foot) and Juancho Hernanogomez (Abdomen) are game-time decisions.

Last Time They Played

Date: Nov. 4, 2018

Score: Jazz 88-103 Nuggets

Jazz: Ricky Rubio - 11 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals.

Nuggets: Paul Millsap - 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists.

Box Score


Charlotte Hornets (22-24) vs Memphis Grizzlies (19-28)

Where to Watch

Date: Thursday, Jan. 24

Time: 6:30 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN

Game Preview

During the league's Thanksgiving holiday, the Memphis Grizzlies had the best record in the Western Conference (third overall).

The season after that has been a completely different story. The Grizzlies slid from a record of 12-5 to 19-28 in the matter of a couple of months including three losing streaks of five or more.

The Grizzlies do have a very respectable defense which ranks 8th in the league with a rating of 106.8. However, their offense ranks 29th in the league (103.9), only better than the Chicago Bulls.

After a positive start, the season seems to be slipping from under the Grizzlies.

Fortunately for them, their rookie Jarren Jackson, the No. 4 pick in the 2018 Draft has been a bright spot in their campaign. Among rookies, he ranks fifth in scoring (13.5), sixth in rebounding (4.7), and second in blocks per game (1.5).

For the Hornets, Kemba Walker has been great so far this season and he could be an All-Star for the host city averaging a career-high of 25.0 points on 43.5% shooting. Unfortunately, for him, the Charlotte franchise has remained in the middle of the pack, hovering just above or just below a .500 record.

This is clearly indicated by the results. They neither have a win streak of losing streak that has exceeded three games. Their offensive rating of 110.5 is nullified to a certain extent with their defense, which is ranked 20th with a rating of 110.1.

Game Notes

  • The Grizzlies are 11-11 in their 22 previous home games at the FedEx Forum.
  • On the other hand, the Hornets, 6-16 on the road.
  • The Grizzlies will certainly be without Chandler Parsons (Not Injury Related), Kyle Anderson (Ankle), and Dillion Brooks (Toe). The team also has three players that are game-time decisions - Marc Gasol (Back), Joakim Noah (Personal), and Garrett Temple (Heel).
  • Meanwhile, the Hornets would only be missing Cody Zeller (Hand).

Last Time They Played

Date: Mar. 23, 2018

Score: Grizzlies 79-140 Hornets

Grizzlies: Tyreke Evans - 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists on 63.6% shooting.

Hornets: Kemba Walker - 46 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds on 72.2% shooting.

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