The Memphis Grizzlies began their assignment of playing the Utah Jazz three times over the course of 6 days on Friday night and finished just shy of a win after a blistering second-half performance. Outscoring Utah 64-51, the Grizzlies came within one possession of taking the game into overtime, but Dillon Brooks' long-range just rimmed out with less than 3 seconds to play.
Friday's win took the Utah Jazz's winning streak up to 4 games as they have re-established themselves as the favorites to top the West. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies keep grinding out performances and have put themselves well into contention for the conference play-in tournament in May.
Fixture: Memphis Grizzlies vs Utah Jazz - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Saturday, March 27th, 2021, 7:00 PM ET (Sunday, March 28th, 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Memphis Grizzlies Preview
With low expectations prior to the season, the Memphis Grizzlies have proven critics wrong and currently hold a .500 record. That has been helped in part by their winning record on the road and the fact that Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas' partnership has flourished as a pick-and-roll option. Combining for 46 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists, the two led the Grizzlies second-half rally on Friday.
Over the last ten games, no player in the league has averaged more rebounds than Valanciunas, who grabs 15 boards a night, 10.7 of which are defensive. During that period, the Memphis Grizzlies have traditionally been solid with the 4th-best defensive rating and rank in the top ten for opposition points off second-chance possessions.
Key Player - Ja Morant
Ja Morant has played like an All-Star this year and is showing flashes of his brilliance. Over the last 5 matchups, no Memphis Grizzlies player has averaged more points or assists than the 21-year-old.
Through his first 100 games for the franchise, Ja already ranks second in points, first in assists and eighth in steals among players who began their careers with the Memphis Grizzlies.
He has what it takes to carry this young Memphis Grizzlies side into the playoffs and is helping a franchise rebuild faster than many thought.
Memphis Grizzlies Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Ja Morant, Shooting Guard - Grayson Allen, Power Forward - Kyle Anderson, Small Forward - Dillon Brooks, Center - Jonas Valanciunas
Utah Jazz Preview
Despite their second-half collapse on Friday, it has been a positive week for the Utah Jazz. Their blowout victories over both a star-less Nets side and the Chicago Bulls were followed by tight wins over the Grizzlies and Raptors. That has put Quin Snyder's side 3 games ahead atop the West. Since they won't be facing a top-8 side from either conference for another 5 fixtures, their grip on the No.1 seed is only going to become stronger.
After what many thought was a mid-season blip, the Utah Jazz have recently returned to their best. Over the past ten matchups, the Jazz rank inside the league's top-5 for defensive rating, defensive rebounds and blocks made.
This has been led by big man Rudy Gobert, who put on another monster display against the Memphis Grizzlies with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Key Player - Donovan Mitchell
Also lighting up the Utah Jazz box score on Friday was point guard Donovan Mitchell. Over the last ten games, the 24-year-old has been on a tear, averaging 29.2 points, 6.2 assists and 1.2 steals.
Although his field-goal accuracy has fallen this season, Mitchell is recording a career-high offensive rating of 115 and is already providing a winning share of 4.7, just .7 off his tally for last year. He is the Utah Jazz' leading playmaker, outscoring his closest teammate by over 8 points per game and is the joint-top for dimes, with 5.5 in each matchup.
Utah Jazz Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Mike Conley Jr., Shooting Guard - Donovan Mitchell, Power Forward - Bojan Bogdanovic, Small Forward - Royce O'Neale, Center - Rudy Gobert
Grizzlies vs Jazz Match Prediction
Fans will be excited to watch this matchup again. With their Friday match going down to the wire, it would be unsurprising to see the same happen again.
Two key matchups to look out for will be the Utah Jazz's center Rudy Gobert against Jonas Valanciunas, with the latter dominating the boards on Friday. Ja Morant and Mitchell too will battle it out in the backcourt.
With home court advantage and a deeper roster of talent than the Memphis Grizzlies, the Utah Jazz are expected to edge this one again.
Where to watch the Grizzlies vs Jazz Matchup?
Those watching in America can catch the game on Fox Sports Southeast - Memphis and on AT&T Sportsnet. Otherwise, it can be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.