Bear Necessities: Key notes, numbers and trends entering Grizzlies-Bulls matchup
MEMPHIS – The Grizzlies (0-1) open a new era in Friday’s regular season home opener against the Bulls (0-1) at FedExForum.
Bear Necessities is a game-day spotlight on Grizzlies updates and trends, curated from Communication Manager Ross Wooden’s game notes, entering tonight's matchup.
Here are a few things to watch:
- The Grizzlies will aim for four straight home-opening victories for the first time in franchise history heading into the game. Memphis has won its past three home openers and six of the last seven, with the lone setback coming Oct. 28, 2015 against Cleveland. The Grizzlies’ last three home wins to open the season came against Atlanta, New Orleans and Minnesota. Memphis is 9-15 all time in home openers.
- Friday’s game starts what could be a momentum-building stretch of home games for the Grizzlies, who play five of their next six contests at FedExForum. The current two-game, weekend homestand includes Sunday’s matchup against the Nets. In fact, 12 of the Grizzlies first 18 games will be played in Memphis. That could benefit a team that relies on three rookies among nine newcomers. November’s 10 home games are the most of any month this season.
- Rookie point guard Ja Morant, the No. 2 overall pick in June’s draft, is looking to build on his debut in Wednesday’s road loss to the Heat. During that game, he posted 14 points, four rebounds and four assists. Since the 2017 draft, only four other rookies (Deandre Ayton, De’Aaron Fox, Ben Simmons and Trae Young) have finished with at least 14 points, four rebounds and four assists in their first NBA game. At 20 years and 74 days old, Morant also became the second-youngest player in Grizzlies franchise history to start a season opener. Shareef Abdur-Rahim was 19 years and 326 days old on Nov. 1, 1996.
- Two key areas where coach Taylor Jenkins wants to see improvement from the Grizzlies in Friday’s game are the performances at the three-point line and at the opponent’s free-throw line. The Grizzlies missed 27 of their 32 three-pointers in Wednesday’s loss to Miami, and the Heat converted 33 of 39 free-throw attempts. Memphis committed 24 turnovers that led to 24 opponent points.
- The Grizzlies reported no injuries for Friday’s game against the Bulls. Memphis guard De’Anthony Melton was cleared this week to return from rehab for a back issue. Melton was held out of the preseason as he completed his conditioning. The 6-4 guard had two assists in three minutes Wednesday. For the Bulls, forward Chandler Hutchison (hamstring) is out and center Wendell Carter Jr. (thumb) is probable.
For the Grizzlies complete game notes, check here: Grizzlies Game Notes