Tonight the Utah Jazz (7-4) return home to the Aunt Viv, and will play host to the Memphis Grizzlies (4-5). This is going to be the sixth straight game for the Jazz in a new city, but hey, at least they had last night off. Still though, this exists as the third game in four nights for our guys. And the cumulative stress and strain seems to be catching up with them. Utah is going to be without the services of starters George Hill and Rodney Hood. Being guard light is something they are going to have to deal with as Alec Burks continues to be out. Derrick Favors is going to be a game time decision, but hey! At least Boris Diaw is going to be back in action!
While things aren’t great with the Jazz, they at least have been winning. Part of that could be the bad teams they played on their recent road trip, but finishing 4-1 isn’t something to just gloss over. Especially during these injuries. The Memphis Grizzlies know about injuries as well. They have used SIX different starting line-ups in 9 games. And only one of them had their projected starting line-up suit up from tip off (Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol) — and even they went 0-1. Allen is out for tonight, as is bench bigman Brandan Wright. I don’t know if Conley and Parsons will play, as far as I can tell they are listed as questionable -- I clearly am not following the right people online.
That’s not to say the Grizzlies don’t have some bite to them. They do!
They are good on the glass (I’d say better than the Jazz), and get to the line. They also make their free throws, but not much else besides that. They can thrive at a slow pace and love to set up their defense around Gasol. They also send the other team to the line a lot, as well. And they’ve been a little sloppy with the ball on offense. We’ll see which team makes the better adjustments, Quin Snyder’s crew of rookie Dave Fizdale’s guys.
At the end of the day, it is going to be about Gordon Hayward asserting control over the Grizzlies and whomever they have suiting up tonight (Vince Carter and Zach Randolph, I’m assuming). Hayward has played like an offensive 1st option for a contender over the last five games. He needs to keep it up tonight, at home, in front of his fans.
Marquee Match-Up: Rudy Gobert vs. Marc Gasol
This is really it. Big vs. Big. Defense vs. Defense. Not unlike the match-ups this week for him against Joakim Noah, Joel Embiid, Serge Ibaka / Bismack Biyombo, and Hassan Whiteside. Gobert has held his own, and in some cases, used his ability to make free throws something that tips the scales in his favor. Tonight he will face off against a polished Spaniard who knows how to pass, get to the line, make his free throws, and score in single coverage with his back to the basket.
X-Factor: The Home Court
Remember they are at home. That should be a boost, we home. Especially against Memphis who has yet to win a game on the road yet this season.
Prediction: Jazz loss
x n i j e s r e v e r