Jazz Snap Losing Streak Against Winless Grizzlies
Nov 1, 2023, 10:28 PM | Updated: Nov 2, 2023, 11:33 am
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz punished the slumping Memphis Grizzlies with a 133-109 blowout in Salt Lake City to snap a two-game losing streak.
The Jazz led by 23 after 12 minutes, and 32 at the half before coasting to a comfortable 24 point victory.
Five Jazz players finished in double figure, led by Collin Sexton who had 23 points in 22 minutes.
The Jazz shot 54 percent as a team and 51 percent from the three-point line.
Grizzlies Making Room For Jazz In Playoff Picture?
It’s far too early to start discussing the Jazz’s path to the playoffs. After all, at this point last season the Jazz owned the best record in the NBA at 4-1, and wound up missing the play-in tournament by a full three games.
Thus, after five games, it wouldn’t be wise to write off the 0-5 Grizzlies quite yet, but recognizing that Ja Morant won’t be back for 20 more games, Steven Adams is out for the season, and Brandon Clarke’s return from an Achilles injury remains an unknown, it’s not looking great.
The Grizzlies entered Wednesday’s game with the fourth-worst offensive rating in the NBA and recorded just a 1oo.oo ORTG against the Jazz who had the league’s worst defense through four games.
That’s the worst I’ve seen a Jazz opponent play in a VERY long time.
Memphis should be super hungry for a win and they’ve been completely flat.
28 percent from the floor, woof.
— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) November 2, 2023
With the addition of John Collins, the Jazz entered the season with an improved roster, but it remained unknown whether they’d done enough to make up any ground on the 11 teams that finished ahead of them in last year’s standings.
So far, 10 of those 11 teams have started the season better than the Jazz, with the San Antonio Spurs also jumping into that group.
But after finishing last year with the second-best record in the West, the Grizzlies own the worst record in the NBA, and they may not be able to climb out of that hole any time soon.
How Quickly The Numbers Change
Entering Wednesday night’s game against the Grizzlies, the Jazz lineup data painted a less-than-flattering picture of the two new faces getting regular rotation minutes.
Of the eight worst two-player lineups that had appeared in all four games so far, John Collins and Keyonte George were both featured prominently.
Collins’ name appeared in three of the Jazz’s five-worst two-man lineups on a per-game basis, while George’s name was featured in four of the eight-worst two-man lineups.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) November 2, 2023
When extrapolated over 100 possessions, George’s numbers look even worse, while Collins gains a slightly rosier outlook.
This early in the season, Hardy said it wasn’t anything to read into.
“Four games is not enough to know much of anything,” the coach said. “So we’ve got to play that out to a degree.”
Hardy expressed his belief in lineup data throughout last season and even mentioned the measurement when explaining why Talen Horton-Tucker had earned one of the starting guard spots to open the season.
But with so few opportunities to see the team play, figuring out when to trust the lineup data can be one of the more difficult tasks for a coach.
“Those are the hardest parts because your gut tells you stuff sometimes,” Hardy explained. “But you do have to let things play themselves out enough to where when you do make a decision to change something it’s received the right way within the locker room.”
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) November 2, 2023
Heading into the matchup with the Grizzlies, the Collins and George partnership was the worst duo on the roster, getting outscored by an average of 40.5 points per 100 possessions.
George was a +9 in 24 minutes against the Grizzlies, while Collins was a +16 in 28 minutes.
The team’s three best two-man lineups all featured Lauri Markkanen, paced by his pairing with Kelly Olynyk which was a positive 5.8.
The ‘Howard Eisley They Might Not Actually Be That Guy’ award:
You could also replace Howard Eisley with Shandon Anderson for the namesake of this award, going to guys who looked terrific when playing next to All-Stars but saw their impact reduced once they had to be the guy on their own team.
There’s a handful of Grizzlies who could win this award currently, but Jaren Jackson Jr. was the main offender on Wednesday night.
The reigning All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year is averaging nearly the same numbers as he did last season, but his -5.5 plus-minus ranks fourth-worst on the Grizzlies, after ranking second-best on the team last year.
The center finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, but shot just 5-17 from the floor and the Grizzlies were outscored by 25 in his 26 minutes on the floor.
Jackson is extremely talented as a help-side shot blocker, and his unicorn-esque offensive game is intriguing, but he’s shown he’s not quite ready to carry a team without a proven superstar in Ja Morant.
That could change as the season progresses, but for now, he’s earned this award.
The ‘What Game Were You Playing? Plus-Minus Anomaly’ award:
Despite the Jazz blowing out the Grizzlies, and nearly every player on the roster having a double-digit plus-minus, Walker Kessler was somehow a -13 in the game.
The Jazz have been subbing Kelly Olynyk into games early in the first quarter this season to replace Kessler in the frontcourt, and against Memphis, it paid off.
Olynyk was a gargantuan +38 in 26 minutes, finishing with 14 points, eight rebounds, and five assists off the bench.
Kessler had four points and four rebounds in 18 minutes, continuing with his early season struggles.
The ‘Chris Webber You Didn’t Have Any More Timeouts‘ Award:
This goes to Grizzlies second-year guard Vince Williams who called a timeout with 2:03 left in the game, despite Memphis having called their final timeout with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Memphis was as dysfunctional as any team you’ll see on the court throughout the first half, but the late game timeout in a 20-point blowout shows a lack of communication from the team’s coaching staff as well.
Jazz Next Broadcast
The Jazz will face the Orlando Magic on Thursday at 7 p.m. MST in Salt Lake City. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.
Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.
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