Pelicans vs. Grizzlies Preview
The Pelicans vs. Grizzlies will be a match-up full of young talent. Memphis currently sits in 8th place in the west while NOLA is 3.5 games back in 10th. As the Pelicans try to inch their way back into the playoffs this will most likely be the biggest game of all the seeding games for them. It won’t be an easy win for either team though. The Pelicans rank 5th in team points per game with 116.2 while the Grizzlies rank 13th with 112.6, on the other side of the ball the Grizzlies are in 20th with 113.7 points allowed per game while the Pelicans are in 27th with an awful 17.
The Grizzlies and Pelicans have played twice this season, in the first match-up New Orleans won comfortably 126-116, Jrue Holiday lead the game in scoring with, 36 points, and 6 rebounds, while Dillon Brooks dropped 31 points and grabbed 9 boards for Memphis. In the second contest, the Pelicans blew out the Grizzlies 139-111 winning by 28 points. This was the first time the Grizzlies saw Zion Williamson and they couldn’t do much to stop him as he led both teams with 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Although neither of these games was very close, on August 3rd there will be a lot more at stake and I believe we are in for a great game.
The Grizzlies came out very strong and took a 13 point lead after the 1st quarter. The pelicans struggled to chip away at the lead and finished the half trailing by 11. Jonas Valanciunas had an incredible 15 points, 17 rebounds, and 4 blocks in the first half alone, while Zion Williamson struggled and shot just 2-7 for the Pelicans in the first half. NOLA continued to very gradually chip away at the lead and was down by six going into the fourth quarter. New Orleans had a very strong fourth and snatched the lead from Memphis with 7:30 to go and didn’t look back, they won the game 102-95. Zion led the game in scoring with 25 points 9 boards, Valenciunas carried the Grizzlies with 19 points and 23 rebounds.
The Pelicans, as usual, dominated in fastbreak points and points in the paint, but struggled from three shooting an awful 18% on 2/11. They also narrowly won the rebounding battle 65-61 and exemplified another one of their team strengths winning the assist contest 26-14.
I think the Pelicans will win this one. Assuming they are at full strength for this game, they are a deeper team, and where the Grizzlies have strengths the Pelicans have solutions. New Orleans matches up very well defensively. Jrue Holiday is one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA and will not stop Ja Morant but will certainly slow him down significantly, and they have multiple great defenders down low to stop Valenciunas, such as Derrick Favors and Zion Williamson.
The Pelicans, as I mentioned in the Preview, have won both match-ups this season very convincingly. Both teams are very exciting, deep, and young teams to watch. I believe this game will be one of the most exciting games to go on in the bubble out of the seeding Match-ups. We will get a chance to see Zion and Morant who will help define the future of the NBA and are also battling for ROY go head to head. What’s not to be excited about with this game?
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Editors note: *Featured image courtesy of Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports*