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Utah Jazz vs Memphis Grizzlies Game Preview: Five things to watch

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Game #6: Grizzlies (3-3) @ Jazz (3-2)
Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 7:00 p.m. (MT)
TV: ROOT Sports and NBA TV • Radio: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the season rolls on with home game #2 for our lovely, young, strong, and handsome Utah Jazz (3-2). They tip off against the Memphis Grizzlies (3-3), a powerful bear of a team that has been a Western conference playoffs mainstay for many years. I've been sick on twitter all day, so this is not going to be the most comprehensive game preview of all time. Yet, I will still write it.

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1. Recent Play:

I actually can't understand either team right now, and there's not enough data (not even 10 games) to see any actual trend. So instead let's recognize the troops. Tonight is Military Appreciation Night, and I think that's a very special thing to celebrate. The Jazz think so as we,, as they had Trey Burke, Elijah Millsap, and Jeff Withey give back at a local food bank and spend some time with the real heroes we should be cheering for.

Thank you to all the troops, especially those who read this site and to your families as well.

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2. History:

I remember when they were called the Vancouver Grizzlies. I remember following them very closely as I was living in Canada back then, and too many people were Toronto Raptors fans. I decided to root for the worse team. And I actually really enjoyed watching them develop over the years, before Sidney Lowe took over. I also do remember that they started of 0-16 against the Utah Jazz, or something ridiculous like that. They just couldn't ever beat John Stockton and Karl Malone. Few expansion teams could. And over the years they moved to Memphis and got better. But the overall record is still in the Jazz' favor. Utah is up 49-25 against Memphis. And the Jazz are a dominant 27-10 at home against the Grizzlies.

Last season the teams split the four games, and I think we were all very impressed with the Jazz' 93-82 win IN MEMPHIS. That's the game where Rudy Gobert went buck while and was dunking on people. And that's where the salute comes from.

I don't know if history has any bearing of what's going to happen tonight though. It really depends on which Jazz team shows up.

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3. Strategy:

Both teams aren't afraid to go big. Memphis goes to war with Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, JaMychal Green, Brandan Wright, and former Jazz pick Jarnell Stokes. Utah can and will counter with Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Trevor Booker, Tibor Pleiss, and Trey Lyles. (And Jeff Withey)

Furthermore, both teams aren't really "with the three pointers thing". Memphis shoots only 19.7 threes a game, makes only 5.2 threes a game, and are successful on their threes only 26.3% of the time. Those ranks are 24th, 26th, and 28th respectively. Utah only takes 17.6 threes a game, makes only 6.2 threes, but is shooting much better, at 35.2%.

Additionally, both teams like to play slow. Memphis clocks in at 94.3 possessions per game, Utah at 91.2.

Grit and grind vs. younger, grit and grind.

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4. Players:

Players need love too. Also some are injured:

  • Mark Gasol is questionable tonight with a neck strain.
  • Jarell Martin is out with left foot surgery rehab.
  • Jordan Adams will not play tonight either, because of right knee soreness.
  • Dante Exum is out because, you know.
  • And Derrick Favors is probable with flu-like symptoms.

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5. X-Factors:

I'm surrendering point guard play, even though I believe that Raul Neto and Trey Burke can do enough to make Mike Conley and Beno Udrih take notice. But I think it's going to come down to which team's wings can carry the day.

It's going to be a well fought match too, with Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, and Joe Ingles going up against Jeff Green, Tony Allen, Courtney Lee, and Matt Barnes (with what's left of Vince Carter to be dogged around by Elijah Millsap).

This is going to be a tough game. They have the point guard advantage, and honestly have the bigman advantage. But Utah SHOULD have better wings. And in a wing dominated NBA right now that should count for enough to make this a close game.

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Prediction: American troops will be victorious!