The Memphis Grizzlies are currently in the midst of recovering from one of their worst seasons ever as they finished last year with a 22-60 record. Last time they had a record that bad was back in the 2007-2008 season, the year before they drafted Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies are coming fresh off a 96-86 win that earned over the impressive Los Angeles Clippers, who are also recovering from a disappointing previous season. The Grizzlies will look to grab a second straight win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
As for the Pelicans, their season isn’t going as they planned as they are sitting at the eleventh spot in the Western Conference with a 13-13 record. Last year, they made the Playoffs but fell to the Golden State Warriors in the Semifinals, 1-4. Since then, they have been without DeMarcus Cousins, who averaged twenty-five points a game in the two seasons he spent with them.
The Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelicans have battled each other a total of 60 times in the past as the Pelicans defeated the Grizzlies 32 times while the Pelicans captured 28 wins. This meeting between the two teams tonight will mark the first of four times that these two ball clubs will see each other during this season. Last season, the regular-season series between these teams were tied at two apiece.
-Dillon Brooks (knee; 6.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 40.9 FG%, 36.8 3P%, 77.8 FT%)
-Chandler Parsons (knee; 5.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.7 APG, 41.2 FG%, 30.0 3P%)
-Wayne Selden (coach’s decision; 5.8 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 41.1 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 86.7 FT%)
-D.J. Stephens (coach’s decision)
-Jevon Carter (G-League)
-Ivan Rabb (G-League; 2.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.7 APG, 61.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 60.0 FT%)
-Yuta Watanabe (G-League; 1.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 0.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
New Orleans Pelicans:
-Nikola Mirotic (illness; 18.9 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 46.5 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 83.8 FT%)
-Elfrid Payton (finger; 9.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 47.1 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 63.6 FT%)
-Ian Clark (coach’s decision; 4.0 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 37.0 FG%, 31.1 3P%, 90.0 FT%)
-Andrew Harrison (coach’s decision; 3.8 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 31.0 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Wesley Johnson (coach’s decision; 4.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.8 APG, 42.1 FG%, 43.2 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Jahlil Okafor (coach’s decision; 3.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.1 APG, 50.0 FG%, 100.0 FT%)
-Trevon Bluiett (G-League)
-Frank Jackson (G-League; 4.3 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, 36.5 FG%, 29.6 3P%, 71.4 FT%)
-Kenrich Williams (0.8 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.0 APG, 33.3 FG%, 50.0 3P%)
Both teams made it very clear that this will not be a game that one would run away with as the Grizzlies closed the first quarter out with a 31-30 lead. The New Orleans Pelicans ended up shooting 55 percent from the field in the first half while the Memphis Grizzlies completed 49 percent of their shots. Marc Gasol chalked up 12 points in the first half, earning four of those points from the free-throw line. This would mark Joakim Noah’s second game in a Grizzlies uniform as he scored four points in his season debut against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Noah looked a little better this time around as he put up nine points on 80 percent shooting. He also had four defensive rebounds and two assists as he came off the bench. Mike Conley, who is averaging a career-high 21 points this season, struggled from the field as he made only 2 of his 6 shots, finishing the game with nine points. Former Philadelphia 76ers guard Shelvin Mack played the most minutes off the bench but was held scoreless, only attempting 3 shots.
As for the Pelicans, Anthony Davis tallied 6 points in the first quarter and 13 points in the second quarter. He shot 73 percent from the field while pulling down six rebounds, committed one steal, and preventing three shots from going in. Julius Randle, who averaged 19 points for the Los Angeles Lakers last season, scored 13 points while Jrue Holiday chipped in 12 points. E’Twaun Moore played 11 eleven minutes off the bench but only had two points to show for it as the home team walked into the locker room with a tight 60-58 lead over the Memphis team.
The Grizzlies would take it upon themselves to close things out as they sparked up a 49 to 43 run, limiting the Louisiana team to just 36 percent shooting. JaMychal Green scored 13 points off the bench while New York-native Kyle Anderson had 12 points. Both Green and Anderson had a three-pointer in the third quarter while shooting 71 percent from the field each. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley would be limited to just three points each but Conley would take his from the charity stripe while Gasol had a trey.
Randle tried his best to keep the Pelicans involved with 13 points, along with 9 rebounds and 2 steals. But it wouldn’t help that he had two turnovers. Davis, who has averaged a double-double in all but one of his seasons (his first season), was kept to just six points on 20 percent shooting. But he did have 5 rebounds, 3 assists, one steal, and one block in the final 17 minutes that he played. Holiday helped out with 8 points but it was Memphis Grizzlies who pulled away with a 107-103 win. JaMychal Green finished with a season-high 24 points, along with 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and a season-high three 3-pointers. Julius Randle had 26 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
The Memphis Grizzlies will host LeBron James (28.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 6.6 APG, 52.5 FG%, 36.9 3P%) and the Los Angeles Lakers (15-9) on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. This game will mark the first of three times that these two teams will fight each other this season. They tied the regular-season series up two apiece last season.
The New Orleans Pelicans will travel to Michigan to take on Blake Griffin (24.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 5.0 APG, 46.4 FG%, 36.2 3P%) and the Detroit Pistons (13-9) on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. This will be the first of two times that these squads will see each other this season. The Pelicans were able to sweep the Pistons last season in their regular-season series, 2-0.