Utah Jazz Play-In Tournament Primer

May 19, 2021, 1:31 PM | Updated: 5:34 pm
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Harry How/Getty ...
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Like all fans across the NBA, the Utah Jazz will be anxiously watching tonight’s first-round games of the Western Conference play-in tournament.

Beginning at 5:30 pm MT, the ninth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies will host the tenth-seeded San Antonio Spurs. Afterward, the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers will host the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors.

After tonight, either the Lakers or Warriors will have locked up a first-round matchup with the second-seeded Phoenix Suns, with the loser needing to win a game Friday against either Grizzlies or Spurs for the right to face the Jazz.

This is a look at both of tonight’s games, and how each of the four teams fared against the Jazz this season.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors

What’s at stake:

With the Lakers and Warriors owing the seventh and eighth seeds in the West, whichever team wins tonight’s game advances to face the Suns in the first round of the playoffs.

The loser of tonight’s game will return home on Friday where they will host the winner between the Grizzlies and Spurs, with the winner of that game facing the Jazz.

Season Series: Lakers 2-1 Warriors

The Lakers won the season series over the Warriors two games to one, with their lone loss coming at home on January 18, 115-113.

Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis played in the game but combined for just 36 points on 12-32 shooting.

Steph Curry scored 26 points in the Warriors’ win.

The Lakers crushed the Warriors on February 28, 117-91, despite playing without Davis. James scored 19 points to lead six Lakers in double-figures, while Eric Paschall scored 18 points off the bench to lead Golden State.

The Warriors were blown out at home on March 15 by the Lakers, 128-97, who were again playing without Davis.

Montrezl Harrell scored 27 points off the bench to lead the Lakers, matching Curry who led all Warriors scorers.

Lakers vs Jazz: Jazz 2-1 Lakers

The Jazz took the season series of the Lakers two games to one, though there was little take from the three games.

Davis missed all three games against the Jazz this season, while James the two final meetings.

Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Mike Conley all missed the Jazz lone loss to the Lakers on April 17.

Warriors vs. Jazz: Warriors 2-1 Jazz

The Warriors won the season series over the Jazz two games to one.

The Jazz won the opening game of the series in Utah 127-108, led by Mitchell who had 23 points, seven rebounds, and six assists in the victory.

Golden State beat the Jazz in the final two games of the season played in San Francisco including a 131-119 victory with both teams at full strength. The Warriors shot 56 percent from the floor and 51 percent from three in the victory.

The Jazz fell in the final game of the series 119-116 but were playing without Mitchell and Conley.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs

What’s at stake:

With the Grizzlies sitting in the ninth-seed and the Spurs sitting in the tenth-seed, the winner of tonight’s game will earn the right to face the loser of the Lakers and Warriors on Friday.

To qualify for the playoffs, either the Spurs or Grizzlies will have to win each of their two remaining games.

Season Series: Grizzlies 2-1 Spurs

The Grizzlies won the season series over the Spurs two games to one, with their lone loss coming in the season opener 131-119.

All five Spurs starters reached double-figures, outdueling Ja Morant who scored 44 points for Memphis.

The Grizzlies followed up the loss by sweeping a two-game series with the Spurs on January 30 and February 1, winning 129-112, and 133-102.

Grizzlies vs. Jazz: Jazz 3-0 Grizzlies

The Jazz swept the season series with the Grizzlies three games to zero, though two of the three games were close.

Memphis lost back-to-back games in Utah by a combined 19 points, before losing at home on March 31, 111-107.

Mitchell didn’t play in the final meeting between the two teams after the Jazz team plane struck a flock of birds upon its departure.

Spurs vs. Jazz: Jazz 3-0 Spurs

In arguably their most advantageous matchup of the season, the Jazz swept the Spurs three games to zero with all three wins coming by at least 11 points.

The Jazz opened the season series with a 130-109 victory in San Antonio before sweeping a two-game home series 110-99, and 126-94.

Jazz Await Play-In Opponent:

The Jazz won’t know who they’ll face in their first-round series until late Friday after the play-in tournament concludes, giving them a short turnaround to prepare for their opening game on Sunday.

However, the team will have had the advantage of resting this week, while the team they play will have had to play two high-leverage games in the play-in tournament before facing the Jazz in Utah.

The start time for Sunday’s series opener has yet to be announced.

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