The Utah Jazz take on the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night in desperate need of a win, if only to silence the growing chorus of naysayers and doubters swirling around like sharks waiting for the team to collapse. Just win one to distract from all the distractions that are causing so much negativity around this team. Oh, how things have changed from a season ago when the Jazz vanquished the Grizzlies in the first round in five games and were considered to be a step ahead of the Grizzlies. Now Memphis is riding an MVP caliber season from star point guard Ja Morant into the top 4 of the western conference.
Memphis comes into this game coming off a 118-110 win against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. The team has cooled off a bit since winning 11 in a row in late December and early January. However, if there was an award for most improved team in the NBA it would probably have to go to Memphis if you don’t count Golden State. The last meeting between these two teams feels like an eternity ago, but it was a heartbreaker for the Jazz who gave up a 6 point lead in the last minute to lose 119-118 in Salt Lake City. The key for Memphis in this game will be to make sure they play physical & win the rebounding battle. If they can win the rebound battle including getting a lot of offensive rebounds, they have proven in the past that they can beat the Jazz with this formula.
The Jazz struggles over the last month have been well documented. The Jazz competed in their last game against Phoenix, but ultimately fell 105-97. Utah needs this game not only because it needs to stop the slide but also to keep pace with the Grizzlies who have now overtaken them as the number three seed. The Jazz will likely have 1 all-star back from injury in Donovan Mitchell but Rudy Gobert remains out with lower calf injury. The key for the Jazz in this game is to stay connected defensively and try to slow down Ja Morant.
Hopefully, the Jazz can finish the month of January strong and start to reverse the losing trend that they are in. Memphis is no slouch but the Jazz can play better than they have recently and it will certainly help to be getting their leading scorer back in the lineup. Get ready for a Friday night slugfest between two gritty teams fighting for position amongst western conference contenders.
When: Jan 28, 2022 – 6:00 PM MT
Where: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Radio: 1280/97.5 The Zone