Status quo at the top of the Western conference where the Denver and Memphis respond to each other from a distance

Both at home, the Memphis Grizzlies (135-129 against San Antonio) and the Denver Nuggets (126-97 against Phoenix) won and still share the same record at the top of the Western Conference.

Memphis, the roller coaster, Morant the thirty-eight

The Grizzlies did not have the most difficult opposition to manage on the night of Wednesday to Thursday with the reception of the San Antonio Spurs, penultimate in the Western Conference (13 victories) and well placed in the race for the first choice of draft 2023 – the hunt for Victor Wembanyama therefore. But the first two oppositions of the regular season between the two franchises had delivered a main lesson: the Texans are not the type to let themselves be humiliated since they lost by 2 points at home in November (124-122) and by eight units on Monday, away (121-113).

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The reunion in Tennessee two days later delivered a final score of the same order (135-129) although the locals dominated the evening for the most part, especially from the second quarter (won 44-25). A success that they owe a lot to the return of Ja Morant, who had missed the two previous meetings of his team: the playmaker split 38 points (14 out of 25 shooting) while his team showed an excellent 63.6% at three points (14 of 22).

There was a form of logic respected there since Morant had got into the habit of panicking the counters against San Antonio with nearly 39 points scored, on average (!), in his last four matches against Gregg Popovich’s men. “It was just a matter of me finding my good spots on the pitch, believed the main interested party. Obviously, shooting well helped. »

On the night of Saturday to Sunday, Memphis will seek to extend its excellent form of the moment – and to maintain the best record in the Western Conference tied with Denver (28v-13d) -, traveling to the Indiana Pacers.

read also: Western conference standings

Denver rolls out against a Phoenix CImpossible for the Suns to reproduce the feat of the day before, since Tuesday night they had dominated the Golden State Warriors of the ghost Stephen Curry (125-113), in California, despite a decimated workforce. The sequence with the Denver Nuggets, co-leaders in the West, was too much.

If the first quarter turned out to be rather balanced (34-28 for Denver after 12 minutes), the rest was impossible to master for the visitors, who slowly but surely let the Nuggets widen the gap (70-54 at the break, 100-75 at the end of the third quarter) without ever having to worry about a close end to the game.

Hard to hope for better when the Arizona franchise fielded an unusual starting five (Saric, Craig, Bridges, Biyombo, Washington Jr.), and played without Chris Paul (hip), Deandre Ayton (ankle) or again Devin Booker (adductors). Suns coach Monty Williams only had ten players available.

Opposite, Nikola Jokic, who only spent 28 minutes on the floor, came close to a triple-double (21 points at 10 of 15 shooting, 18 rebounds, 9 assists) while Bones Hyland (21 points) stood out off the bench. Next meeting Friday, at the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Status quo at the top of the Western conference where the Denver and Memphis respond to each other from a distance