The Memphis Grizzlies will try to tie a franchise record in wins tonight as they travel to Utah to face the team that ended their season last year.
While the Grizzlies are sitting comfortably in the two seed in the West as the playoffs approach, the Jazz are a little less comfortable. They have lost six of their last 7 and now sit in the six spot, just a game and a half up on Minnesota.
A win for Utah tonight would ease their worries of the play-in game just a little, but it’s not going to be easy. The Grizzlies have won seven straight and Jaren Jackson Jr, Desmond Bane, Steven Adams, and Tyus Jones are expected to play tonight after all sitting during the win over Phoenix.
To help prepare for tonight’s matchup, SLC Dunk’s James Hansen answers five questions about the Utah Jazz.
1. Utah has been struggling recently, dropping 6 of its last 7, what’s the reason behind the late season swoon?
We have been writing for months trying to figure it out, but it boils down to an inability to guard the perimeter on the defensive end, and a lack of cohesion to end games. Utah crumbles under any sort of pressure late. It’s an extremely fragile team.
2. What’s the game plan to get back on the winning track against the Grizz?
The Jazz are looking for any sort of cohesion they can. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have been taking shots at each other through the media for months. Apparently, the team had a players only meeting yesterday, we’ll see if that does anything to help them get a win against the Grizzlies. If we’re being honest, the Jazz will do the same thing like they do every game. They’ll have the same rotations they do every night and when things get tough, they likely won’t adjust. If the Grizzlies can get hot late in the game, they have a very good shot of taking this one.
3. Worst case/best case scenario heading into Playoffs?
Worst case scenario for the Jazz is a first-round exit leading to a likely blow up of the entire team. Best case scenario? Probably the Western Conference Finals, but that seems less likely every game.
4. Is Utah equipped to make a run in the Playoffs?
Utah is equipped, but they don’t seem to have what they need to make it happen. It’s like a car that doesn’t have enough gas. Utah has been the worst team in the league this season at giving up double-digit leads late in games. It’s tough to watch.
5. Matchup to watch in tonight’s game between Jazz and Grizz?
I would say watch the guards. Every game opposing guards have big nights against Utah’s pretty pathetic perimeter defense.