Utah Jazz at the Memphis Grizzlies: Game Preview

USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies return home for Christmas with smiles on their faces. Can they carry-over the momentum from their win in New York on Saturday?

2013/2014 NBA Season
vs
11-15 (5-10 home)
Won 1
8-22 (5-12 road)
Won 1
December 23rd, 2013
FedexForum in Memphis, TN
7:00PM CST
Fox SportSouth/ 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Trey Burke
Tony Allen
SG Gordon Heyward
James Johnson SF Richard Jefferson
Zach Randolph PF Marvin Williams
Ed Davis C Derrick Favors
2013/14 Advanced Stats
92.1 (30th) Pace 93.8 (27th)
100.1 (22nd) OEff 97.4 (27th)
105.4 (25th) DEff 108.2 (30th)

Injury Report

Memphis: Marc Gasol (out), Quincy Pondexter (out), Tayshaun Prince - left knee soreness (day-to-day)

Utah: None

More on the Jazz: SLC Dunk

The Grizzlies have the holiday gift of returning home from New York to face the Utah Jazz, and there couldn't be a more "gimme" of a game for the Grizzlies to snap a 3-game-home losing streak. You have to look all the way back to December 9th for the Griz' last home win, and before this month you have to look back all the way to November 9th for a Grindhouse victory.

Memphis is going up against a Utah team that actually scores fewer points than the Grizzlies while allowing more points per possession than any other team in the league. The Jazz have recently shown the ability to lock down on weak offensive teams, but they are finishing up a 5-game-road trip two days before Christmas in Memphis tonight, i.e., they're likely to be tired, spent and ready to get home.

Trey Burke is starting to become comfortable in the NBA, but his supporting cast puts a lot on his shoulders and the Grizzlies defense should be able to throw off his game if Mike Conley and Tony Allen come ready to play tonight.

Gordon Heyward is averaging a career high in PPG but doing so on career low in shooting percentage (40%) including a paltry 27% from three. If Tony Allen and James Johnson (who is shooting 46% from the floor and 57% from three) can keep him out of a shooting rhythm then the Grizzlies may find the rest of the game falls into place for them.

I'm just not sure the Jazz will be able to hang with the size that Memphis puts on the floor tonight. Between Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos and James Johnson (6'9 248lbs), the Grizzlies will look to physically intimidate the Jazz and get to the line throughout the game.

While Dave Joerger and the Grizzlies aren't quite an apex predator at the moment, they're at least near "feral cat" level compared to the "scavenging lizard" status of the Utah Jazz. If this were the season that Grizzlies' fans expected then we would be labeling this a definitive trap game. As the cards lay, the Griz should be supremely motivated to stomp the living daylights out of the Jazz and have a positive note on which to celebrate their next two days off with family and friends.

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