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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz Game Preview

Grizzlies looking to start a three game winning streak tonight in Utah...

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Memphis Grizzlies v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (4-1, 2-1 road) @ Utah Jazz (4-2, 2-0 home)

WHEN: 8:00 PM CT

WHERE: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

INJURY REPORT:

MEMPHIS: Ja Morant (Doubtful, Non-Covid Illness), John Konchar (Questionable, Left Shoulder Soreness), Ziaire Williams (Out, Right Knee Soreness), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, Right Foot Surgery Recovery), Danny Green (Out, Left Knee Surgery Recovery)

Utah: Walker Kessler (Out, illness), Simone Fontecchio (Health and Safety Protocols, Out), Rudy Gay (Knee, Health and Safety protocols, Out)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:

MEMPHIS: Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Santi Aldama, Steven Adams

Utah: Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Lauri Markkanen, Kelly Olynyk, Jarred Vanderbilt


Memphis Grizzlies v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies head into tonight’s matchup with the Utah Jazz hoping to continue their success on both ends of the floor. Tonight, Memphis will most likely be without their floor general Ja Morant due to a non-covid illness. Morant is currently listed as “doubtful,” but assuming Morant is out for Memphis tonight, Tyus Jones will start in Morant’s absence.

Memphis, who will be taking on a Jazz team that is in their second night of a back-to-back. As I’m writing this, the Utah is in a war with the Denver Nuggets at home. Two teams that are battling early season injury/illnesses. What can we expect tonight, and how do the Grizzlies escape Utah without Ja Morant?

Strength in Numbers:

Strength in numbers has really been the story of the Grizzlies’ young season up to this point. From John Konchar stepping into the starting spot until Dillon Brooks could return and producing at a high level, and to the rookies Jake LaRavia and David Roddy stepping in, multiple players have been needed to make an impact on winning.

Playing in Utah is never easy, and this Jazz team is very competitive. Even on their second night of a back-to-back, Memphis will have to work the pick ‘n’ roll with Jones and Steven Adams to create offense in half-court sets. Tyus has found his offense at the right time, as he will most likely be in the starting lineup for the Grizzlies tonight.

Unlike the Sacramento Kings, Utah’s wing defenders are really solid. There’s a lot of length, so Memphis will have to cut and create their own. I expect John Konchar to return to the court tonight, and this game has his name written all over it.

I expect Jones to play well, the rookies to step up, and the starters to handle business.

Memphis Grizzlies v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Winning the rebound count:

Steven Adams has been sensational grabbing rebounds for the Grizzlies this season, which is to be expected. However, what makes this Grizzlies team a great rebounding team, is when they crash the boards together.

The Grizzlies thrive when Adams is off the floor too due to their mindset. A mindset that doesn’t change when Brandon Clarke comes in, it’s become a habit to crash the boards, and then push in transition. Memphis has been great this season snagging rebounds, but it won’t be easy against this Jazz team.

Guys like Vanderbilt, Markkanen, and Olynyk make life rough in terms of getting rebounds. It will be a battle, but if Memphis crashes the boards as a unit, I like their chances against a depleted Jazz team in the second night of a back-to-back.

The Prediction

Despite not having Ja Morant, the Grizzlies still have the chemistry with one another. Having a backup plan named Tyus Jones is huge. Plugging Jones into the point guard spot tonight will be nothing new to this Grizzlies team.

I predict that the Grizzlies starters have a really good game, particularly Dillon Brooks. I think Brooks works his matchup against Jordon Clarkson, and gets to his spots in the mid-range and has a really good night.

I predict that Taylor Jenkins uses John Konchar as the backup point off the bench, which he’s been really good to get the ball past half-court. Memphis takes down Utah tonight, but it won’t be an easy one at all. Utah’s loss to Denver tonight will sting, but I predict Memphis takes off in the fourth quarter.

Memphis 118, Utah 110

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