Home Blues Memphis Grizzlies vs. Atlanta Hawks match preview

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Atlanta Hawks match preview

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WHO: Memphis Grizzly (9-9, 6-4 at home) vs. Atlanta Hawks (10-9, 2-8 away)

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. CST

O: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee

HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast / 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

INJURY REPORT:

MEMPHIS: De’Anthony Melton (Questionable, groin), Sam Merrill (Out, ankle)

ATLANTA: Onyeka Okongwu (Exit, Shoulder), Deandre Hunter (Exit, Wrist)

PROJECTED START CONFIGURATION:

MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams

ATLANTA: Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Bogdan Bogdanovic, John Collins, Clint Capela


Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!

We’re going to feast on Black Friday tonight, as the Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks Fight on Beale Street. These two teams have had roughly similar seasons. To varying degrees, both have failed quite lived up to expectations.

The Grizzlies are an interesting case, whether they’re right in the middle of standings expectations, outdoing themselves in the eyes of some, and also underperforming in some crowds. After a big run in the Eastern Conference finals, where they came close to 2 wins from a trip to the NBA Finals, the Atlanta Hawks could have had a big breakthrough in the regular season. Instead, they sort of spat out the door. However, they are picking up some speed here, having won 6 games in a row.

It’s just the product of exceeding expectations. Nonetheless, these two teams remain two of the brightest young teams with a trajectory to become a potential contender. It should be a fun basketball Friday night.

Photo by Joe Murphy / NBAE via Getty Images

A generational battle

Let’s continue with the grateful state of mind. We are lucky and blessed to have a battle between two of the best young guards in the league. Ja Morant and Trae Young have the makings of the next big leader rivalry.

Both point guards drive the offensive engine of their teams as they have the scoring and playmaking strengths to make their systems deadly when they click. They are both part of the ‘All League Pass team’ with the way they lead the game with flair, drive and daring.

It should be a fun battle to watch, and we should enjoy it. While both players are sure to get theirs offensively, whoever outshines the other could go a long way in determining the outcome of this match.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Photo by Joe Murphy / NBAE via Getty Images

Please, please defend the 3

Good news: Atlanta Hawks are in the bottom-5 in 3-point-per-game attempts (31.9)

Bad news: they are second in percentage of 3 points (37.1%).

After adopting the 3-point line for the majority of Trae Young’s tenure, they traded a good chunk of their 3s for mid-range jumpers. The Hawks are 3rd in average frequency, as 37.6% of their shots fall within this range, for example Glass cleaning.

So while their offensive design may be encouraging, they have plenty of outside weapons that could expose the Grizzlies’ patchy perimeter defense. They have a plethora of players shooting above the league average of 3 – Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, Trae Young, Danilo Gallinari, to name a few.

It sounds like a record broken, but it will be a major key as the Grizzlies try to overcome these woes.

Other small observations

  • Let it fly. The Atlanta Hawks are in the bottom 10 for opponent’s 3-point shot attempts (38.7). The Grizzlies prioritize as many 3s and edge shots as possible, and finding their pace from 3s could be a big deal for Memphis. Keep an eye out for Desmond Bane here as he’s 14-25 (56%) of 3 in his last 4 games.
  • Feed Jaren. Jaren Jackson has found some really good momentum in the last few games, diversifying his punch portfolio much better. It also enters a groove inside the arch.
  • Disorder infect. The Grizzlies got into trouble with Jackson and Dillon Brooks on Wednesday night, and with the guns the Hawks have deployed, they can’t afford to have their top 2 defensemen stuck in trouble.

The Hawks are hot, but they’re in the middle at home. The Memphis Grizzlies should be relieved in this game. It’s hard to predict, but let’s bet on a high scoring game here.

Prediction: Grizzlies 122, Hawks 117

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