The Brooklyn Nets will be looking to get their 2020-21 NBA campaign back on track when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. Both teams lost out in their previous outing although the Nets have a better record right now.
The return of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant has really rejuvenated the Eastern Conference outfit, who look ready to dominate the regular-season standings. They've only recently lost Spencer Dinwiddie to a torn ACL though which is unfortunate news. The Memphis Grizzlies are also waiting for Jaren Jackson Jr. and Justise Winslow to complete their lengthy rehabilitation procedure.
Memphis Grizzlies vs Brooklyn Nets: Key matchups to look out for
Despite the missing names for both teams, the Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets have players who could give each other a tough time. It could boil down to individual battles and on that note, let us look at the three key matchups for this game.
#1 Ja Morant vs Kyrie Irving
The Memphis Grizzlies desperately need a win after a 0-2 start to the season and Ja Morant has always delivered the goods with his back up against the wall. He's averaging 36 points and eight assists so far but can go the extra mile if need be.
On the other hand, Kyrie Irving is having a fantastic run with the Brooklyn Nets. He's averaging 29.3 points while shooting at 56% from downtown. He also has six assists per game to his name.
Both Ja Morant and Kyrie Irving aren't known for their defensive game but can torch any opponent on their night. Expect to see some explosive dunks and silky handles during the course of this matchup.
#2 Kyle Anderson vs Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is back from his Achilles injury and somehow not skipped a beat. He's as comfortable as ever in beating defenders off crossovers or straight up shooting over them. He's not pushing himself to his limit yet for the Brooklyn Nets but is still managing a healthy 26.7 points per game on 53.2% shooting.
The primary responsibility to guard him will be given to Kyle Anderson who's simply trying to make the most of Jaren Jackson Jr.'s absence. Anderson is averaging 13.5 points and 12 rebounds per game so far, both numbers more than double of what he managed last season.
#3 Jonas Valanciunas vs DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen
Jonas Valanciunas has been the go-to man for the Memphis Grizzlies inside the paint. The Lithuanian is also their main rebounder and is averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds per game for his exploits.
The Brooklyn Nets have the perfect options to counter his threat though. Steve Nash has found a way to effectively split the minutes between DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen who combine for 20.7 rebounds per game. Allen is a brilliant rim protector as well and blocks 2.3 shots every night.
The duo doesn't provide much offensive power for the Brooklyn Nets but keeping Valanciunas quiet would be enough to put pressure on the Memphis Grizzlies.
Published 28 Dec 2020, 21:54 IST