Utah Jazz look to go 3-2 on pre-Christmas road trip, face Memphis Grizzlies tonight

USA TODAY Sports

Game #31 -- Utah Jazz (8-22) @ Memphis Grizzlies (11-15)
December 23, 2013, 6:00 p.m. MT -- FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
TV: ROOT Sports, RADIO: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

NBA Regular Season Game #31:

Utah Jazz (8-22) @ Memphis Grizzlies (11-15)

December Game Streams / Grizzly Bear Blues (SBN) / Jazz vs Grizzlies coverage

Hey, we could win this one!

.

Let me tell you about the road warrior Jazz. Utah has 5 road wins and 3 home wins. How crazy is that? (And secondly, what does this say about our home court advantage?) Probably nothing because in both cases the same sizes for both home games and road games are under 20 games; and more importantly, in both cases the Jazz are still a bad team going 3-10 at home and 5-12 on the road. Well, tonight the Jazz will try to make that 6-12 on the road and inch upwards to .333 winning percentage there. If it's going to happen it'll be because of the play of Trey Burke (who I was recently accused of not being too high on, which means my writing is improving because I'm absolutely crazy about the kid). Burke has been what this team really needs -- a floor general. He knows how to adjust the pace, he makes passes off the bounce in the halfcourt that we haven't seen since we had a balding point guard from a Big 10 school named Deron Williams. And man, three point shooting? IF he keeps it up you know our last second plays are going to be straight out of the #MOLO playbook, cept he's not going to wave off picks or avoid making passes. Getting Trey Burke, almost in itself, makes this a dream season for the Jazz. But let's not forget that the much maligned C4 are still blowing up (but at their own rates), and valuable contributions are happening nightly from vets like Marvin Williams, Richard Jefferson, and Jeremy Evans (He's a vet now. As are the C4. Get over it.) -- we're looking like a team. And we're looking for a win tonight.

As for the Memphis Grizzlies, well, they are not having a dream season at all. They current sit at the #13 seed in the Western Conference, are last in their division, and have 3-7 in their last 10 games. Their wins in that span were against the likes of the Phoenix Suns (at home), Orlando Magic (at home), and New York Knicks (on the road). The Grizz lost games against the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks. This looks like a team we can really contend with. A large reason for that happens to be injuries. While the Jazz current have no injured players of any significance (the DSM-IV TR stop classifying people form France as having an abnormality), the Grizzlies have had no such luck. Marc Gasol, Tayshaun Prince, and Quincy Pondexter could all be out for tonight. Well, Pondexter for sure as he is out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his foot. Tay's knee kept him out of their last practice and game. Gasol's sprained MCL is doing him no favors either.

With three rotation guys out we've seen what this current Memphis team is capable of. And effectively it's like playing a much less dangerous team. We know all about that because the first part of the season we were super injured and looked super bad. That said, rookie coach Dave Joerger is capable of coaching at this level. He has been dealt a poor hand but he's doing the best he can. Memphis is the slowest team in the league, and that mitigates the talent disparity a bit -- teams are scoring only 97.3 ppg against the Grizzlies, which makes them the 7th best defense in the land. (Their defensive rating is bottom third though) The offense is not looking good, but we know who the usual suspects are -- Conley and Z-Bo. They do the work on offense and Allen and company grind on defense.

Grizzlies Player Stats:

Player Pos G MPG PPG RPG APG TO A:TO SPG BPG PER USG% AST% TRB%
1 Mike Conley 1 24 34.0 17.8 2.0 6.3 1.9 3.3 1.2 0.3 20.6 24.5% 33.6% 3.5%
2 Zach Randolph 4 5 24 32.8 16.4 9.8 2.2 2.7 0.8 0.6 0.1 16.5 26.7% 12.0% 12.0%
3 Tony Allen 2 3 21 26.4 11.0 4.3 2.1 1.8 1.2 2.1 0.5 19.5 20.3% 13.9% 9.7%
4 Mike Miller 3 2 26 23.5 6.8 3.4 1.7 1.1 1.5 0.3 0.0 10.6 13.5% 10.8% 8.6%
5 Kosta Koufos 4 5 26 21.5 7.3 7.0 0.8 1.1 0.7 0.5 1.1 14.7 19.1% 5.8% 19.2%
6 Jerryd Bayless 1 24 20.9 7.5 2.0 2.0 0.8 2.5 0.8 0.2 10.2 20.5% 14.9% 5.8%
7 Jon Leuer 4 5 17 19.9 9.4 4.8 0.7 0.9 0.8 0.5 0.4 18.5 20.9% 6.3% 14.3%
8 James Johnson 3 4 3 18.3 6.0 3.3 1.7 1.0 1.7 1.0 0.0 18.9 10.7% 13.7% 10.7%
9 Ed Davis 4 5 20 16.7 6.6 3.9 0.5 0.8 0.6 0.2 0.9 16.7 18.2% 5.1% 13.8%
10 Nick Calathes 2 19 13.5 2.8 1.2 2.6 1.4 1.9 0.4 0.1 5.8 16.1% 28.2% 5.3%
Injuries Pos G MPG PPG RPG APG TO A:TO SPG BPG PER USG% AST% TRB%
x Marc Gasol 5 13 34.4 16.0 7.1 4.3 1.7 2.5 0.9 1.1 20.3 22.4% 21.5% 21.5%
x Tayshaun Prince 3 4 24 26.6 6.0 3.0 1.5 0.7 2.1 0.5 0.2 7.1 13.7% 8.6% 6.7%
x Quincy Pondexter 3 2 15 18.0 6.3 1.7 1.3 1.0 1.3 0.3 0.1 10.7 18.0% 11.6% 5.7%

Jazz Player Stats:

Player Pos G MPG PPG RPG APG TO A:TO SPG BPG PER USG% AST% TRB%
1 Gordon Hayward 2 3 30 36.1 16.4 5.4 4.5 2.8 1.6 1.2 0.5 15.3 24.3% 22.0% 8.4%
2 Derrick Favors 5 4 28 31.8 13.4 9.1 1.3 2.0 0.7 1.1 1.5 18.2 20.2% 7.4% 16.3%
3 Trey Burke 1 18 29.1 13.2 3.5 4.9 1.3 3.8 0.6 0.1 16.0 23.2% 30.4% 6.8%
4 Alec Burks 2 1 30 27.4 12.8 2.9 2.6 1.8 1.4 0.8 0.3 14.6 23.4% 17.1% 6.1%
5 Enes Kanter 4 5 29 26.8 11.3 5.9 0.8 1.9 0.4 0.3 0.8 12.9 22.2% 5.4% 12.5%
6 Richard Jefferson 3 30 26.2 9.7 2.8 1.6 1.5 1.1 0.6 0.2 11.4 17.6% 10.4% 6.1%
7 Marvin Williams 3 4 20 26.2 9.4 5.2 1.4 0.9 1.6 1.2 0.6 14.9 16.4% 8.7% 11.2%
8 Jeremy Evans 4 17 20.5 7.4 5.8 1.1 0.8 1.4 0.6 0.9 17.3 17.2% 9.0% 16.1%
9 John Lucas III 1 23 18.3 5.0 1.2 1.5 0.6 2.5 0.4 0.0 6.6 16.5% 13.3% 3.6%
10 Diante Garrett 1 21 14.2 3.1 1.2 2.4 1.2 2.0 0.8 0.0 9.3 15.0% 26.6% 4.7%

The Jazz are 47-20 all time against Vancouver/Memphis. They also are coming out on top as the road team, holding a 20-13 record as the visitors (no doubt propped up by those great Sidney Lowe coached Big Country Reeves teams). In recent history the Jazz are only 6-8 against the Grizzlies. Here are some important tweets to take note of for tonight's match-up:

We also get to see Boom itches tonight. So that's an added plus. An injured bear is the most dangerous bear, and the Jazz will be tired from this long road trip that saw them bouncing around the South East for over the last week.

I like our chances tonight. And when your team has Trey Burke, a guy fast enough to keep Conley in his rear view mirror, good things can happen.

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