Memphis Grizzlies vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 1st 2024

The Cleveland Cavaliers are finally back to full strength, which is something the Memphis Grizzlies can only dream about.

Few teams have been as injury-plagued this season as the Grizzlies, who continue their three-game homestand with a matchup against the Cavaliers on Thursday.

Cleveland improved to 11-1 over its last 12 games with a 128-121 home win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

Donovan Mitchell matched his season high with 45 points for the surging Cavaliers, who have won seven straight at home. Mitchell scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and finished with eight assists, six rebounds and two steals.

“You’ve got a guy who’s a closer,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “You’ve got a guy who you feel like when the game is on the line, you have him, and they don’t. He’s a guy that’s going to give you an opportunity to win.”

The Cavaliers will aim for their fourth straight victory when they face Memphis, which had a total of 11 players out on Monday as they lost 103-94 to the Sacramento Kings.

Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart, Steven Adams, Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke and Derrick Rose are all on the injured list for the Grizzlies, who have used 27 different starting lineups this season.

“We understand our reality,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We know the long-term injuries (and) short-term injuries, guys that are busting their tails to get back out there. The guys in uniform right now, how hard they’re playing and how great they’re playing together, that’s what we’re leaning into. We just come in, having our standard and our mentality every day.”

The Grizzlies could receive a much-needed boost soon from Rose, who has been out with a left hamstring strain since Jan. 3. Jenkins said the veteran point guard could return at some point during the team’s next three games.

Memphis turned in a spirited effort against Sacramento and held a 15-point lead in the first half. Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 22 points and Santi Aldama scored 16 for the Grizzlies, who lost after going scoreless in the game’s final three minutes.

Jenkins was encouraged by the play of guard Scotty Pippen Jr., who had 12 points and five assists in his first NBA start.

“Especially the last year or two, just seeing his growth as a playmaker is something that’s really stood out,” Jenkins said. “We’ve done our homework on him, and he’s a guy that fits in great with our group. As his opportunities come, I’ve told him to just stay ready. The IQ piece and the playmaking we saw can translate with the style we play.”

While Memphis is scrambling to fill roster spots, Cleveland is back to full strength after both Evan Mobley and Darius Garland returned from lengthy absences this week.

Garland scored 19 points on Wednesday in his first contest since breaking his jaw in a game against the Boston Celtics on Dec. 14. Mobley has played two games following a 22-game absence caused by left knee surgery.

“It’s great to have (Garland) and Evan back, that’s first and foremost,” Mitchell said. “The biggest thing now is to continue to figure it out. We have a deep, talented team and we’re continuing to build together.”

–Field Level Media

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