Jazz Look To Even Series Against Grizzlies In Game Two
May 25, 2021, 5:37 PM
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will look to even their opening-round series with the Memphis Grizzlies at one game apiece when the two teams face off Wednesday in game two.
The Grizzlies won game one 112-109 despite a furious comeback by the Jazz who nearly erased a 17 point fourth quarter deficit.
It’s been a dramatic opening weekend to the playoffs for the Jazz who in addition to losing game one, have been dealing with the fallout from Donovan Mitchell’s botched return from injury.
Grizzlies beat writer Drew Hill joined the Jazz Notes podcast to preview game two between the Jazz and Memphis.
Jazz Back At Full Strength
The Jazz will be at full strength as Donovan Mitchell is back in the lineup for the first time since April 16.
Mitchell missed the final 16 games of the regular season and game one of the playoffs with a severe ankle sprain. However, Mitchell’s return has not been without its drama.
On Saturday, Mitchell was cleared by the team to play in game one and spoke to the media after shootaround on Sunday.
“I feel good, ready to go tonight,” Mitchell said. “No pain and excited to be going.”
However, Mitchell was ruled out of game one by the team’s training staff just hours before tip-off, much to the All-Star guard’s dismay. After the Jazz close loss, Mitchell took to social media to express his frustration.
Sorry y’all… I wish I could say more…. I’ll be out there soon !❤️🙏🏾
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) May 24, 2021
After going through practice on Monday with the team, Mitchell was cleared to return to the floor to face the Grizzlies in game two.
“I talked to my teammates and said ‘Look we’re in here together.’” Mitchell told the Jazz roster after Monday’s events. “I don’t know if I should have shared that but that’s what it is, we’re here together.”
Asked if there was any chance Sunday’s events could repeat themselves ahead of game two, Mitchell had a clear response.
Grizzlies Play With House Money In Game Two
While the Jazz face a near-must-win in game two to avoid heading back to Memphis down 2-0, the Grizzlies are playing with house money according to The Daily Memphian’s Drew Hill.
“They’re playing with house money at this point,” Hill told KSL Sports in the Jazz Notes Podcast. “Nobody really expects them to win this series, they’re still series underdogs at this point. But they’ve got to be feeling good.”
After a tumultuous weekend, the @utahjazz are looking forward to game two:
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) May 25, 2021
The Grizzlies got big offensive performances from Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant who were both making their playoff debuts. Brooks scored a game-high 31 points on 13-26 shooting while Morant added 26 points in the victory.
“They’re led by a 21-year-old who’s getting his first-ever playoff experience,” Hill said of Morant. “So they’re not trying to get too high at this point, but not too low either.”
Wednesday night’s key matchup will pair Donovan Mitchell against the Grizzlies Brooks. Though it was Morant who carried the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter, Brooks did the majority of the damage against the Jazz in the second and third quarters helping Memphis build a 17 point lead.
Rather than having to defender Mitchell, Brooks was able to focus his attention on Joe Ingles, Mike Conley, and Royce O’Neale, all of whom combined to shoot just 11-32 from the floor.
Royce O'Neale and Dillon Brooks are both very good perimeter defenders.
But, here are Ja Morant and Donovan Mitchell's stats this season in head-to-head matchups.
26.7 ppg 7.3 apg, 51 FG%/40 3p%
35.0 ppg 6.5 apg, 60 FG%/71 3p%
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) May 22, 2021
Though Mitchell may be under a minutes restriction, he’ll likely draw Brooks as his primary defender, freeing the Jazz other guards to facilitate the Jazz offense.
In two meetings this season, Mitchell has averaged 35 points and 6.5 assists on 60 percent shooting from the floor and 71 percent from the three-point line.
The Jazz and Grizzlies will tip-off in game two at 8 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on TNT and AT&T SportsNet.
Utah Jazz Scoreboard
Utah Jazz Team Leaders
Utah Jazz Standings