Game 61: Utah Jazz (31-29, Road: 10-21) @ Memphis Grizzlies (34-24, Home: 21-7)
Utah Jazz #10 in West @ Memphis Grizzlies #5 in West
Did you know that the Vancouver Grizzlies had a very hard time with the Utah Jazz? The Grizz did not beat the Jazz in a regular season game until their 5th season in the league? At that point the Jazz had won 17 straight games? For the entire Vancouver adventure the Grizz record against the Jazz finished at 1 win in 22 games. The flip side is that the well constructed, balanced roster of superstars, vets, and youth that those Utah Jazz teams enjoyed demolished the lottery, expansion team that did not have much going for it. Twenty one wins and one loss for the Jazz.
Well, they're not in Vancouver anymore. We're not a contender anymore being led by John Stockton or Karl Malone either. Memphis is on a serious roll right now.
They lost on the road to San Antonio by 10, but previous to that they had won 9 of their last 11 games. They moved up from the bottom of the Western Conference playoff pack to be within striking range of home court in the first round (something our Deron Williams / Carlos Boozer team never brought us). Memphis is a good team, and this game is going to be a bear. I guess, pun intended.
Click on to read what's going on with the Jazz and the Grizz!
What's going on with the Grizzlies?
Like I said, Memphis is a good team, and they've been quite hot in the last few weeks. They are a good balance of strong interior defense with Marc Gasol, and inside outside scoring with Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay. As a team they don't really surprise anyone on offense. They only score 95.2 ppg, which is good for 19th best in the league. They are also the 19th best team in Offensive Rating (at 103.6 / 100). Their pace is on the slow side (#16), but that's still half a league faster than the Hornets who played at the slowest pace in the league -- and beat us. Where Memphis shines is on defense. They only let other teams score 93.6 ppg, which is good for #7, and their defensive rating is #8 in the league at 101.8 / 100.
They have strong, athletic wings like Tony Allen and Rudy Gay who are hard to get by. They also have length inside with Marc Gasol, Z-Bo (his arms are crazy long), Marreese Speights (ditto), and everyone's favorite safe word forgetting back-up center Hamed Haddadi.
I'm not going to go into synergy to see really scout them though. As a team, they rotate well and help each other. You know, like a team is supposed to. They lead the league in steals, and cause the second most turn overs. These contribute to the Grizz having faced the least amount of FG attempts this season. Teams just can't get into their offense to take a shot.
On offense six guys are averaging double digits, with a 7th at 8.9 ppg. They share the ball, also you know, like a team is supposed to. No one takes more shots a game than Gay, who is at 16.6 FGA. And seven guys take at least 8 shots a game. Five of their guys each take 10 shots. In Utah only two guys take 10 or over a game, and between them shoot it 30 times a game. You know, for a point of comparison.
The good news is that they are #29 in three point attempts. You know the Jazz are #30 in that department. So, well, expect a lot of inside stuff, physical play, and fouls.
What's going on with the Jazz?
The Jazz have to win every game ever, for all time now. Period. They lost last night, and I think they will come out tonight with some fire. They know they have to win tonight. I believe that they will come out and try to win it. Devin Harris is due for a good game. Paul Millsap, Gordon Hayward, and Al Jefferson are our big three right now, and I don't think we've seen all of them have a strong game in the same game for a while either. It would be nice if they all start clicking right about now.
It's kind of important right now.