The Jazz have been doing better than expected in spite of trading away some of their best players in Mike Conley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley. Behind the steady play of All Star starter Lauri Markkanen (27 points/8.3 rebounds/3.3 assists per game), the Jazz have won two out of three games on the road in between the trade deadline and their last game before the the All-Star break. Speaking of which, Lauri Markkanen and Ja Morant were named All-Star starters, replacing the injured Zion Williamson and Steph Curry, respectively. It’s fantastic that the first All-Star Game in Utah in 26 years not only will have a representative, but a starter? Who would have possibly thought of that after the Jazz traded away franchise cornerstones Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell?
The most efficient offensive players in the #NBA so far this season: pic.twitter.com/otwTB9SRT7— Synergy Basketball (@SynergySST) February 13, 2023
For most prognosticators, though, the Jazz were not expected to win these games – something that’s frankly been a theme throughout this entire Jazz season. And the Grizzlies might be in the way of more ping pong balls – they’ve had a very mixed month, winning expected games against the Bulls and Timberwolves but losing four games in February so far, including to the Trail Blazers and Raptors (both at home). They’re just 3-7 in their last 10 games, in spite of having a second all-star and DPOY candidate in Jaren Jackson Jr.
Despite this, Grizzlies have made themselves out to be somewhat of villains this NBA season. Behind Dillon Brooks’ antics across the league and associates of Ja Morant threatening members of the Pacers’ travel party, though, this is not the same as the tough and punishing Grit ‘n Grind of Mike Conley, Tony Allen, and Zach Randolph. We’ll see if any sparks fly right before the All-Star break, or if folks are looking to clock out and take off to Salt Lake a bit early.
When: 6:00 PM MST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis
TV: ATTSN-RM (AT&T Sports Net-Rocky Mountain), BSSE-MEM (Bally Sports Southeast-Memphis)
Radio: KZNS/KSL/KTUB, WMFS
Projected Starting Lineups
Utah: G: Collin Sexton G: Jordan Clarkson F: Lauri Markkanen F: Kelly Olynyk C: Walker Kessler
Memphis: G: Ja Morant G: Desmond Bane F: Dillon Brooks F: Jaren Jackson Jr. C: Xavier Tillman
- Russell Westbrook - Personal reasons (it’s very strange that he’s officially on the team)
- Micah Potter - Elbow (out until at least mid-March)
- Steven Adams - Knee (out until early March)