It’s a bear market out there for Utah. Literal bears. The Jazz can’t seem to be on the right side of Bear related events whether it’s the firing of their mascot, losing at home against the Grizzlies, or losing—AGAIN—at home to the Memphis Grizzlies. Down Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz struggled on defense and fell to 0-3 at home 110-100 to the Grizzlies.
This game appeared to be ready to go the other way for Utah after two quarters. The Utah Jazz got out to a 31-29 lead against Memphis in the 1st quarter and a 60-53 lead at halftime. Ricky Rubio was cookin’ with 17 points and 6 assists before halftime. It would have been 60-50 had Mike Conley not made a desperation huck at the buzzer before the half that went in.
With change in momentum swinging in Memphis’ favor, the Jazz came out flat from halftime and lost Ricky Rubio to foul trouble VERY early in the 3rd with a dubious touch foul. Rubio was called for a quick fourth and sat much of the quarter before being brought back in late in the third due to the Jazz’s offense stalling in a terrible way.
By that point it may have been too late.
Utah only scored 18 in the third and struggled to get back into in the fourth. A late offensive surge provided by Jae Crowder wasn’t enough to pull Utah back into this game.
In the second half Mike Conley and Marc Gasol got going. Gasol scored 8 in the second half and pulled down 9 rebounds while Conley shot 4 of 9 from the field and got to the line for six free throws. The Grizzlies would score 60 points in the second half.
What should give Jazz fans pause is the disappearance of the Jazz’s potent defense. The Jazz rank 14th in the league in defensive rating and are in the bottom 10 of opponent field goal percentage. This isn’t your trademarked Jazz defense. The Jazz’s offense while bad wasn’t the culprit as much as the Jazz’s defense just couldn’t get a stop.
This also was a game ruled by fouls. There was a combined 54 fouls with Rubio’s 4th foul possibly turning the tide of this game toward Memphis in the 3rd. There were a combined 59 free throws attempted. The Utah Jazz shot 56% from the line with both Rudy Gobert and Jae Crowder missing half of their free throws.
Grayson Allen got the start for the held out Donovan Mitchell. Grayson Allen had a welcome to the NBA type game. He had a +/- of -18 while on the court and finished with 9 points, 1 assist, and 4 fouls.
Donovan Mitchell had an MRI on his hamstring that showed no tears, but he was held out as a cautionary measure. Utah might have been trying to have their cake and eat it, too. Get a win without Mitchell while having him fully rested for a big divisional game against the 7-1 Denver Nuggets.
What may become a talking point later on is the Gobert/Favors pairing down low. That combination continues to get outscored while on the court together. Derrick Favors—who looks like he’s still nursing his knee—struggled tonight. He shot well from the field, but Utah had trouble getting the spacing it needed on the floor.
Meanwhile, Jae Crowder came in and scored 18 points off the bench. Dante Exum struggled mightily with Marc Gasol protecting the paint. The Grizzlies just seem to have Utah’s number.
While there may be cause for concern with Utah now falling to 0-3 at home for the season, Jazz fans can take comfort that Utah will be going on the road tomorrow when they face the Denver Nuggets. The Jazz are 3-1 on the road, and—best of all—Derrick Rose doesn’t play for the Nuggets.