Grizzlies vs. Nuggets preview: Red-hot teams collide in Denver

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies and Nuggets are two of the hottest teams in the NBA, and they will clash on Friday night in Denver.

If you can't remember what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, it will be worth your while to tune in to the matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies (44-19) and Denver Nuggets (44-22) on Friday night at the Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets have won 10 straight game overall and 14 consecutive contests at home. They own the best home record in the Western Conference at 29-3, and only the Miami Heat (30-3) have a better record at home this season. The Grizzlies have churned out 14 wins in their last 15 games, and the only blemish during that stretch game against Heat, who are currently on a 20-game winning streak. The only reason people haven't been talking about the Nuggets and Grizzlies non-stop is the Miami Heat are on an historic run.

The two teams have built up their streaks in different ways, which should add to the tension of the contest. The Nuggets have a high-octane offense that thrives in the open court and creates chaos for defenses by attacking the rim before the defense can get set. The Grizzlies have pounded teams defensively in the half court, and they like to slow things down and come up with just enough offense to get the job done. Marc Gasol is the heart and soul of the team, and he will be locked in an interesting matchup with the hyper-athletic JaVale McGee, who isn't consistent or predictable enough to be the heart and soul of anything.

Memphis has become an even better team by trading away Rudy Gay prior to the trade deadline. His inefficient offense has been removed from the equation, and now the team can run everything through Gasol, who loves to initiate offense from the high post. New additions Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis have provided a nice boost as well, so don't make the mistake of thinking the Grizzlies have become worse without Gay.

The Nuggets have climbed to within 1.5 games of the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoff bracket -- currently occupied by the Grizzlies -- and the Clippers are no doubt nervous about being sandwiched in the middle of that mess with the final seed that bestows home-court advantage.

The stakes are high. Denver can clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker over Memphis with a win, as they've won two of the first three matchups this season, while Memphis needs a win to tie the series and initiate the secondary tiebreaker (conference record -- which Denver leads at this time).

Denver is a 5 1/2-point favorite at home and the over/under is set at 195 points, according to Odds Shark. Tip time is 9 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on SportSouth-Memphis, Altitude and NBA League Pass.

More in the NBA:

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Did Dahntay Jones intentionally hurt Kobe Bryant?

The evolution of the "Stretch 4"

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