The Utah Jazz (25-28) are trying to get their first seven-game win streak in almost exactly two years. On Feb. 9, 2016 the Jazz got to seven games a few days before the All-Star break by beating the Mavericks.
The current iteration of the Jazz have been just as red-hot as that 2015-16 team was and they’ll be facing the ailing Memphis Grizzlies (18-35). The Grizzlies have lost four straight games, the last two by double-digits.
When: Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 • 6:00 PM MT
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
TV: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone
Dante Exum - OUT (Shoulder)
Thabo Sefolosha - OUT (Knee)
Ekpe Udoh - OUT (Personal Reasons)
Mike Conley - OUT (Heel)
Deyonta Davis - OUT (Knee)
Chandler Parsons - OUT (Knee)
Tyreke Evans - OUT (Arm/He might be traded)
What To Watch For:
Ricky Rubio’s hot hand
Rubio is averaging 19.3 points and 8.5 assists during this win streak. He’s is also shooting 57.9 percent from three. His success is one of the biggest reasons the winning streak is happening. On the year, the Jazz are 8-0 when Rubio scores 20+ points. When he’s on, the whole team does much better.
Without the relentless defense of Mike Conley, Rubio might have his way with the Memphis defense.
Donovan Mitchell’s (actual) return
Mitchell technically returned Monday against the Pelicans. But it wasn’t the Spida-man we’ve seen the last four months. He logged just over 19 minutes and shot 1-6 from the field. Getting him better is crucial to prolonging the winning streak and making a playoff push.
Excluding the game on Monday, Mitchell is averaging 25.3 points, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals during the winning streak. And now that he’s going to be in the dunk contest and assuming he’s over his flu-like symptoms, he might show off some of his dunking prowess to Marc Gasol.
Most Likely Jazz-Killer: Marc Gasol
This is mostly by default. It’s certainly possible someone else on the Grizzlies could step up and have a good game but this team is missing all of its offensive talent. Tyreke Evans is likely being held out due to him possibly being traded and Conley has been ruled out for the rest of the year.
Gasol has struggled in recent years when facing off against Rudy Gobert (he was held well below his PPG and RPG averages in four games against Utah last year). But he’s the only active player with All-Star talent in Memphis.