The New Orleans Pelicans are on the verge of their best regular season record in the history of the franchise and the game against the New Orleans Pelicans will be one for the history books.
The Memphis Grizzlies have been the best story of the season. With the second-youngest roster in the league averaging just over 24, the Grizzlies are about to finish the regular season in second place in the Western Conference.
In the past year, the Grizzlies grew from a team that might make the playoffs to a real contender. Many do not take them seriously given their age but the Grizzlies proved many times this season that they can compete and win against the best teams in the league.
The main reason for that certainly is the first-time All-Star Ja Morant. The point guard out of Murray State is maybe the most exciting player all season long and only the injuries have put him away from the MVP conversation. Morant is averaging 27.2 points per game, which purs him seventh in the league, and he also has 6.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Many believe that Morant is the only reason for the Grizzlies’ success this season but the fact is that the team is 20-2 with him being sidelined.
Dillon Brooks is the second scorer on the team with 18.5 points per game but the 26-year-old has missed more than 40 games with an injury.
Desmond Bane has been the player who has made the biggest leap since last season and the shooting guard is one of the top candidates to win the Most Improved Player Award. The 23-year-old out of TCU is averaging 18.2 points and 4.4 rebounds on 43% shooting from the three-point territory and 90% from the free throw line.
Another youngster who has made a huge impact on the team is Jaren Jackson Jr. The power forward has 16.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game and will definitely finish among the top three vote getters in the Defensive Player of the Year race.
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans came into the season with high ambitions. Brandon Ingram was coming in from his first All-Star selection and Zion Williamson is one of the hottest young players in the league. Soon after the start, the Pelicans found themselves near the bottom of the Western Conference and things didn’t look promising at all.
Williamson is sidelined with an injury and everybody was eager to see him play but that day has still not come this season. The power forward has not made the season debut yet and that will probably not happen.
When the season seemed lost for the Pelicans they made a crucial move that may save the season and bring a bright future for the team from the Big Easy. Just before the trade deadline, the Pelicans acquired CJ McCollum alongside Larry nance Jr. and Tony Snell from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart, Didi Louzada, Tomas Satoransky and draft picks.
McCollum brought a winning mentality with him to New Orleans and the team quickly jumped from 12th place in the conference to a place that will give them a chance to make it to the playoffs throughout the Play-In.
McCollum is averaging 22.6 points per game for the season on 46.2% shooting from the field and 39% from deep. Ingram is at 22.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. Jonas Valanciunas is another reason for the Pelicans’ success as the Lithuanian centre is averaging 17.9 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.
Our tip for the Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Pelicans
The Memphis Grizzlies lead the all-time series 16-10 against the Pelicans and 2-1 this season. The last time these two teams met was a month ago when the Grizzlies won 132-111. Both teams will be preparing for what is ahead of them, the Grizzlies for the playoffs and the Pelicans for the Play-In game.
Ja Morant has recovered from a minor injury and he will use this game to get back to 100%. The Pelicans are locked in ninth place in the conference and with no uncertainty about their final regular season position, they may sit out their top players in order to have them rested and ready for the biggest game of the season.
Anyway, the Grizzlies are one of the best home teams in the league with a 29-10 record and will easily win this one as well and set the record for most wins in a regular season in franchise history.