UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Preparing To Face Grizzlies Three Times In Six Days

Mar 26, 2021, 1:47 PM | Updated: 1:53 pm
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz...
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz drives against Grayson Allen #3 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half 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 – If the last year hadn’t been strange enough on and off the floor for the Utah Jazz, the scheduling quirks brought upon by the pandemic shortened NBA schedule could push it over the top.

The bizarre scheduling will reach its peak for the Jazz as they prepare to face the Memphis Grizzlies in three of their next four outings in a span of just six days.

The first two games will be played in Salt Lake City with back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, before concluding Wednesday in Memphis.

Jazz Like The Way Grizzlies Play

The Jazz were complimentary of the Grizzlies style of play during Friday’s shootaround. Center Rudy Gobert spoke glowingly of the ninth-seeded Memphis team.

“They’re a very physical team, they’re very talented,” Gobert said in his praise. “I like the way they play, they’re fun to watch, too.”

The All-NBA center said playing the Grizzlies so frequently in a short span created a unique challenge for the Jazz.

“When you play a team that many times I feel like it makes it even harder, but it’s just a great opportunity for us.”

Forward Georges Niang elaborated on the difficulty of facing the Grizzlies three times during the week.

“You’re not going to be able to stick to just one game plan of beating that team,” Niang said. “The way we guard them tonight is going to be different than the way we guard them tomorrow because teams are smart.”

The Grizzlies series marks the fourth time this season the Jazz have faced the same team in back-to-back games. The Jazz swept the first two series against the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans before splitting games on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Grizzlies Playing Well Entering Series With Jazz

The Grizzles fly into Utah for the second and third games of a four-game road trip. Memphis has won three of their last four games, including a victory Wednesday over the Oklahoma City Thunder to climb to 21-20 on the season.

The Grizzlies were led by Dillon Brooks who scored 25 points in their win over the Thunder.

Former Jazzman Grayson Allen scored 20 points as a starter for Memphis, a role he’s found himself in 17 of his 29 appearances this season.

Allen is averaging 9.9 points while shooting 41 percent from the floor and 40 percent from the three-point line after being traded to Memphis in the summer of 2019 as part of the deal that brought Mike Conley to Utah.

Key Matchup

The key matchup between the Jazz and Grizzlies to pit Gobert against Memphis big man Jonas Valanciunas.

The two centers have faced off 15 times in their career with Valancius coming away victorious in 11 of the outings.

The Lithuanian big man has averaged 15.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in the matchup.

Gobert meanwhile has averaged 12.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 16 meetings. The Jazz have won each of their last three games against the Grizzlies.

Broadcast

The Jazz and Grizzlies will tip-off at 7 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.

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