UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Preparing To Face Slumping, Injured Grizzlies

Aug 4, 2020, 6:18 PM | Updated: Aug 5, 2020, 5:35 pm
Royce O'Neale - Utah Jazz - Memphis Grizzlies...
Royce O'Neale #23 of the Utah Jazz handles the ball against Jaren Jackson Jr. #13 and Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on November 29, 2019 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz (42-25) may be licking their wounds after consecutive losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers. But they find themselves in good shape compared to the Memphis Grizzlies (32-36) who they face Wednesday afternoon at the NBA’s Disney Campus in Orlando.

The Grizzlies have lost three straight games since resuming the NBA season. Each loss has felt more dire than the last for the young roster as they fight to hold onto the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoff chase.

Then, to make matters worse, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced Tuesday night that Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. would miss the rest of the season with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Jackson Jr, along with Rookie of the Year favorite Ja Morant make up one of the league’s most promising young duos in Orlando. The Grizzlies have been able to hold onto the eight seed through most of the NBA calendar despite having more proven and talented roster nipping at their heels.

Grizzlies and Jazz Struggling to Shoot in Orlando

The Jazz lost their second consecutive game Monday night against the Lakers in Orlando 116-108. Any semblance of shooting the Jazz had throughout the season has abandoned them in the Disney campus. The Jazz enter their matchup with the Grizzlies as the worst three-point shooting inside the bubble at just 25.9 percent.

It’s a dramatic drop for the Jazz who rank as the NBA’s second-best three-point shooting team overall at 37.7 percent.

While no players have shot well for the Jazz in Orlando, reserve Jordan Clarkson and Georges Niang have been particularly poor from three. Niang went 0-3 from deep against the Lakers, pushing his total over the last three games 1-13 in Florida. That’s good for seven percent.

Meanwhile, Clarkson connected on just 1-9 three-point attempts against Los Angeles, moving his Orlando average to 18 percent over the last three games.

Before the league’s hiatus, Niang was a 41 percent three-point shooter. Since being acquired by the Jazz, Clarkson had connected on 36 percent of his three-point attempts.

Things for Memphis aren’t much better.

The Grizzlies are the league’s second-worst three-point shooting team in Orlando converting on just 28.1 percent of deep balls over the last three games. However, the three-point shot hasn’t been as crucial of a piece for the Grizzlies offense this season. Memphis is the 23rd ranked three-point shooting team this year at 34.8 percent for the season.

Battle of Dynamic Guards

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and the Grizzlies’ Morant will be the key focus during the game. Mitchell is coming off a stellar 33 point performance against the Lakers. It’s the 19th time this season Mitchell has crossed the 30 point benchmark for the Jazz.

Meanwhile, Morant will be anxious to wash his last performance out of his mouth. The rookie phenom scored just 11 points on a 5-21 shooting performance against the New Orleans Pelicans. Morant is just 2-19 from the three-point line since returning tot he Orlando bubble.

Despite his recent struggles, Morant has found success against the Jazz this season. The guard has averaged 18 points, six assists, and 3.5 rebounds in two meetings this season. The Jazz have a 2-1 record this season against the Grizzlies in three meetings.

The two teams last met on December 7 in Salt Lake City. The Jazz won the game 126-112 behind 22 points from Mitchell. Morant didn’t dress.

The Jazz and Grizzlies will tip-off at 12:30 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.

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