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Two in-form teams clash on Friday in a crucial NBA contest
  1. NBA

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies @ Denver Nuggets Preview

After Monday night's NBA games, the top three teams in the league are all from the Eastern Conference.

However, that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of quality in the competitive West, as their top two prepare to meet.

The Memphis Grizzlies head to Denver on the back of a defeat, as they face one of their biggest tests of the season.

The Nuggets sit just a game behind them in second and could end the night as the new frontrunners in the West.

This could well be a preview to a Play-off clash later in the season, with both sides looking like contenders for a deep postseason run if injuries don’t hamper them.

After the season they’ve each had so far, expect a brilliant encounter when they lock horns in Denver.

What: Memphis Grizzlies @ Denver Nuggets
Where: Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado
When: 22:10 ET, Tuesday December 20th
How to watch: NBA Pass
Odds: MEM Grizzlies -120, DEN Nuggets +100

Nuggets relying on Jokic again

The big positive for the Nuggets heading into this season was that Nikola Jokic wouldn’t be on his own this time around. The return of Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray has helped the Nuggets into the top two.

It’s also helped them look like a stronger NBA Championship candidate at +1400.

However, the Nuggets are set to miss both Porter Jr and Murray for this one. Porter Jr is sidelined at the minute, while Murray continues to be carefully managed by Denver.

Of course, Jokic can make up for their absence given the brilliant all-round game which earned him a second MVP award last season.

Jokic is close to averaging a triple-double this term, with 25.2 points per game alongside 10.9 rebounds and 9 assists a night.

The Serbian can do everything, and he’s helped the Nuggets to a brilliant home record, as they’re 9-2 at home in games in which Jokic has featured.

Superstar Morant can be stopped

This is a proper superstar battle, with Ja Morant in fine form for the Memphis Grizzlies. The All-Star guard has averaged 26.7 points per game this season.

Despite his shorter stature, Morant has continued his all-action displays, producing incredible dunks over relative giants.

However, the Grizzlies’ star did have a rough night last time around, finishing up with only six points from 16 minutes in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He heads into this one having been priced at -115 to score over 28.5 points in this clash.

He’s hit that total in only two of his last nine outings, so backing the Nuggets to restrict him to 28 points or fewer at -115 is worth looking at.

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Brooks pushing his case

Dillon Brooks has been out pushing his awards case, with the Grizzlies man recently appearing on the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year ladder.

Brooks was placed third in their latest defensive rankings, but he can be found at +20000 in the betting for the award.

Working against him is that the Grizzlies have two standout defenders, helping them to the fifth-best defensive rating in the league.

Jaren Jackson Jr is second in the betting at +300 and he’s expected to be the standout for Memphis this term, but it’s Brooks who is consistently locking down the opposition’s best player night after night.

That defensive duo may be competing with each other but it’s clicking for Memphis, who are allowing just 109.5 points per 100 possessions.

That should help them in this trip to the Nuggets, while Morant’s offensive impact points to a decent defensive display from Denver.

Nuggets should come good at home

There’s little between this pair in the betting. The hosts are slight underdogs, but it’s worth siding with them considering their brilliant record at home.

With just two home defeats with Jokic on the court, the Nuggets should come good, especially as the visitors have lost eight times on the road, while seven of their 10 defeats have come against teams from the West.

The Western Conference leaders could struggle to stay out in front in spite of the Nuggets’ injury concerns.

The home side have a 14-7 record against sides in their own conference this term and they head into the game with four wins from five, including a three-game winning run at their own arena.

That form should help them overcome the Grizzlies, so take the slight underdogs.

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