The New York Knicks have lost five of their last six games. The Memphis Grizzlies, meanwhile, are on a four-game win streak, their last three wins coming on the road.
Fixture: Memphis Grizzlies vs New York Knicks | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Friday, April 9th; 7:30 PM ET (Saturday 10th; 5:00 AM IST).
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY.
Memphis Grizzlies Preview
The Memphis Grizzlies have been in impressive recent form. Their offense has averaged 122 points in their last four games, while their defense has allowed only 108. Two aspects of the Grizzlies game have helped the team breach the West's top 8 - their defensive solidity and scoring depth.
Against the Timberwolves on the weekend, as many as eight Memphis Grizzlies players tallied double-digit points; against the Hawks on Wednesday, their starters combined for 101 points. Meanwhile, at the other end of the court, no team has averaged more defensive rebounds in the last five games than the Memphis Grizzlies, who rank sixth in conceding second-chance points to the opposition.
However, to remain in postseason reckoning, the Memphis Grizzlies will have to fare well in a daunting set of fixtures this month. They'll face the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets twice and the LA Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks once, all on the road.
Key Player - Jonas Valanciunas
In his last ten games for the Memphis Grizzlies, Jonas Valanciunas has played some of the most dominant basketball of his career.
In this period, the 28-year-old has averaged a career-high 12.6 rebounds and 13.6 boards, which is the second-best by a center in the league.
Only two Memphis Grizzlies players have a higher +/- than Valancuinas for the season (+2.2); in the last ten games, that jumps up significantly to +9.3. His offensive rating this season is matching his personal best of 121, while Valancuinnas is shooting at a steady 56.3% from the field.
Memphis Grizzlies Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Ja Morant, Shooting Guard - Grayson Allen, Power Forward - Kyle Anderson, Small Forward - Dillon Brooks, Center - Jonas Valanciunas.
New York Knicks Preview
The New York Knicks have been one of the most consistent sides this season, constantly hovering around the .500 mark.
Although their performances on the road against the Nets and Celtics this week were admirable, Thibodeau would be disappointed that his team fell short by two points on both occasions.
Offense has been the New York Knicks' weakness this season, as they have relied on the all-round play of Julius Randle and RJ Barrett's scoring sprees. While they could continue to frustrate teams at the defensive end (currently ranked fourth for efficiency), they may just fall short of the automatic playoff berths in the East.
Key Player - Julius Randle
Julius Randle was on fire for the New York Knicks against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, putting up 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists to go with three steals. Earlier, the power forward registered his fourth triple-double of the season against the Brooklyn Nets, which is his career-high tally.
Randle has been the key to the New York Knicks success this season at both ends of the floor. He is averaging career high numbers in points, rebounds, assists, steals and three-point shooting.
His defensive rating is at a career-low 107. He also has the best defensive win share of any New York Knicks player in the last ten games, leading all his teammates in defensive rebounds per matchup.
New York Knicks Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Elfrid Payton, Shooting Guard - RJ Barrett, Power Forward - Julius Randle, Small Forward - Reggie Bullock, Center - Nerlens Noel.
Grizzlies vs Knicks Match Prediction
This matchup is a tough one to call, as a top-10 offense will go up against a top-5 defense.
The Memphis Grizzlies will seek to gain an advantage in Valanciunas' matchup with the weaker Nerlens Noel in the paint.
Meanwhile, Grayson Allen had a season-high 30 points on Wednesday. But he may have a tough night on the perimeter, as the New York Knicks boast the lowest opposition three-point percentage.
Overall, the Memphis Grizzlies look too strong at the moment. They are on a roll and could likely have too many scoring options for the slumping New York Knicks.
Where to watch the Memphis Grizzlies vs New York Knicks matchup?
In the USA, the game will be broadcast on local networks, Bally Sports Southeast - Memphis and MSG; the matchup will be shown nationally on NBA TV. The game can also be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.