Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
After a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Denver Nuggets are looking to get the train back on the tracks against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Where: Pepsi Center-Denver, CO
When: 7 p.m. MST
Watch/Listen: Altitude Sports and Entertainment-Altitude Sports Radio AM 950
A 110-97 loss at the hands of the NBA’s worst team the Atlanta Hawks will hopefully give the Denver Nuggets a bit of a gut check. The Nuggets are currently on a three-game losing streak and have lost to two inferior opponents in that stretch in the Kings and Hawks. The Grizzlies come to Pepsi Center with one of the NBA’s worst records at 13-27 and are just 5-14 on the road. On the flip side of that, the Nuggets have a home record of 14-5 and will look to erase their current woes against the Grizzlies on Friday night.
Even with the Grizzlies struggles this season, the team is still led by center Marc Gasol who scores 18.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and chips in four assists per game. The leading scorer for the Grizzlies is veteran Tyreke Evans who averages 19.9 points per game and shoots over 41 percent from three. With Mike Conley still out with an achilles injury, Gasol and Evans will be the two players to look out for on Friday night.
Wednesday nights game against the Hawks presented a lot of problems for the Nuggets in terms of offensive production and defensive energy. Atlanta averaged just 104 points per game and 103 points per game on the road coming into the game and the Nuggets allowed them to score 110. The absence of Paul Millsap is really starting to show as the Nuggets often go into these ruts on the offensive end of the court. Nikola Jokic shot just 4-20 from the field and was 0-8 from the three, something the Nuggets can’t afford to have if they want to be a playoff team at the end of the season.
Even with the issues the Nuggets have had in the last three games they’ve still got production from starting shooting guard Gary Harris. Harris shot 11-14 from the field against the Hawks for 25 points and his points per gamer total is now up to 16.9. Harris now has a field goal percentage of 49.8 percent and has turned into arguably the Nuggets best offensive player. With the consietcny that Harris has played with this season, he’s arguably become the most important player on this Nuggets team. Jokic is still the star of the Nuggets, but Harris is approaching star status and it’s fun to see the continued growth on one of the Nuggets longest tenured players. Some bad news hit the Nuggets at pregame shoot around though as they’ll be without Harris against the Grizzlies, who will be out for personal reasons.
Harris is back home dealing with personal issues. Nothing that will keep him out an extended amount of time.
— T.J. McBride (@TJMcBrideNBA) January 12, 2018
The absence of Harris will be a big loss for the Nuggets and will make it interesting as to which player steps in and replaces Harris in the rotation. Look for either extended minutes for Torrey Craig, Malik Beasley, or even Emmanuel Mudiay tonight against the Grizzlies.
Even with the shooting drought Jokic went through on Wednesday, he’s still third on the team in scoring at 15.7 points per game and leads the team in rebounding at 10.2, as well as assists at five. Something the Nuggets need Jokic to work on going forward is the turnover numbers as he leads the team in that category at 2.6 per game. Jokic has a turnover in 13 straight games and will be something that needs to dwindle for the Nuggets offense to have success.
Stay tuned to Dig In Denver for postgame coverage.