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Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies Game Preview

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Game 61: Jazz (28-32) @ Grizzlies (36-24)
Location: FedEx Forum • Memphis, TN
Time: 6:00 p.m. (MT)
TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM / 97.5 FM

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz are 0-2 on this road trip so far, and well, they were within 3-6 in the fourth quarter of both games, losses to the #2 Toronto Raptors and #3 Boston Celtics. Top East teams are in the rear-view mirror and Utah finishes off this road trip with a back-to-back set against Western foes, the Memphis Grizzlies tonight and then the New Orleans Pelicans tomorrow. Memphis has some bad luck with injuries right now, missing Marc Gasol, Tony Allen (who may play tonight), and bench players Brandan Wright and Jordan Adams. Utah has had some bad luck with injuries as well, and will continue to be without Dante Exum and Alec Burks. Despite losing their best player for the season, the Grizz are still 5th in the West, and are 6-4 in their last 10, and on a two game win streak. The Jazz? Only 3-7, and on a four game losing streak. If the Jazz want to reverse their fortunes, tonight may be the night.

Since February, Memphis has gone for eight wins in 12 games. They've lost to the Mavericks in OT, Trail Blazers in OT, Raptors on the road, and somehow the Suns on the second night of a back to back. Of their wins, only the Pelicans, Knicks, and Kings are half decent teams. They've had a cushy schedule of late, you know, playing the Lakers, Nuggets, Nets, Timberwolves, and so forth. Utah is the hardest team they've played since February 8th. And I wouldn't be surprised to see the Jazz actually try to win this game. (As opposed to just playing for 40 minutes.)

Utah is 51-25 against the Vancouver / Memphis Grizzlies. And they are 22-15 on the road, including winning TWICE there last season. Utah is currently 2-0 against Memphis this season, and are looking for the season sweep tonight. Against an injured Grizzlies squad, it could happen.

Grizzlies Players:

2015 2016 GM 61 UTA at MEM - Grizzlies Player Stats

Memphis has had a high turnover of players this year, trading away, waiving, or whatever seven different guys: Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Beno Udrih, Russ Smith, Elliot Williams, James Ennis, and Jarnell Stokes. Right now they have a lot of power forwards on the team, but both Gasol and Wright will be out -- meaning their biggest guys aren't there to patrol the paint. On the flip side, they have a legion of wing players ready to go do battle: Matt Barnes, P.J. Hairston, Lance Stephenson, and Vince Carter. If Tony Allen is back (currently questionable) then there's no reason for Memphis to go big. Usually this would be a team Utah could match-up well against. Tonight? Probably not.

Mike Conley continues in a long list of PGs Utah has to face, following Kyle Lowry and Isaiah Thomas in the last two games. Hopefully Shelvin Mack is up for the challenge tonight.

Also, for some reason, they are giving out this Zach Randolph - Toltec head tonight.

So there's that.

Jazz Players:

2015 2016 GM 61 UTA at MEM - Jazz Player Stats

Apparently Joe Ingles has a shooting hand injury, but is playing through it. No Dante. No Alec. But everyone else should be good to go, including Rodney Hood (who had to leave last game with a head injury). Tibor Pleiss? Still with the Idaho Stamps. Memphis even called up their D-League guys. Not so much for the Jazz for this game.

Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood need to win this one for Utah against their legion of wings. I hope to see it happen. I really think this is a winnable game. And I hope the team feels that way as well.

GO JAZZ GO!