Utah Jazz (22-15 SU, 18-18-1 ATS, 18-19 O/U) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (23-16 SU, 20-19 ATS, 18-19-2 O/U)
NBA: Sunday, January 8, 2016, FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee, 8 pm ET
Line: Memphis -3; Over/Under: 191
A battle of tough, defensive minded Western Conference foes takes place in the birthplace of rock and roll. The Utah Jazz travel to face the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday night. Utah was in action Saturday night against Minnesota in a Northwest Division matchup. Memphis snapped a two game skid by rallying to down the Warriors 128-119 in overtime on the road Friday night. Utah has a commanding 52-27 edge in the all-time regular season series. The teams split two meetings this season, each winning on the road. The Jazz won the last meeting, 82-73, here on December 18, 2016 in the most recent matchup.
Utah Jazz Close Out Five Game Road Trip
Utah was on the road in Minnesota Saturday night and closes their five game trip out here before heading home to face Cleveland Tuesday. The Jazz entered Saturday’s game fifth in the Western Conference, nine games behind the Warriors for the top spot. Utah is at the top of the Northwest Division as they led Oklahoma City by one game in the standings. The Jazz sat 6.5 games ahead of the ninth place Kings in the West, giving them some breathing room in the playoff picture. Utah is 10-8 on the road and has posted a 15-9 record against the Western Conference this season.
The Jazz enter this contest 28th in the league in scoring offense with 99 points per game. Utah is in the bottom of the pack, ranking 24th in the league in rebounding with 42.4 boards per game. The Jazz is 29th in the league in assists with 19 per contest. Utah currently leads the league in scoring defense as they allow 95.3 points per game. George Hill is one of four Utah players averaging in double figures with 18.8 points plus 4.2 assists per game. He is out again as he is in the league’s concussion protocol. Gordon Hayward is averaging a team high 22.2 points with six rebounds a game. Rodney Hood scores 14 points a night and Joe Johnson puts up 8.7 points a game. Rudy Gobert is averaging 12.5 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.57 blocks per game in the low block. Derrick Favors, Shelvin Mack, Trey Lyles, Joe Ingles, Dante Exum and Boris Diaw are key guys in the rotation for the Jazz. Utah is 7th in the league as they shoot 46.6 percent from the floor. The Jazz are 11th in the league in threes per game as they knock down 9.6 triples a night. Utah is 7th in the league in three point shooting as they knock down 36.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Memphis Grizzlies Seek Home Win to Build Momentum
Memphis became the first team in more than three years to rally from down at least 19 points in the fourth quarter to win a game in the NBA. The Grizzlies trailed the Warriors 98-79 after three but the defense really turned up the heat down the stretch. Memphis limited Golden State to 21 points in the 17 minutes comprising the fourth quarter and overtime. The Grizzlies shot 48.5 percent from the field in the game and actually shot better than the Warriors from the outside. Memphis hit 13 of 33 three point attempts while Golden State was 8 of 30 in the game. Zach Randolph (11 rebounds, six assists) hit his season high in points as he and Marc Gasol each had 27 to lead the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies limp into this one ranked 25th in scoring offense in the league as they average 99.6 points per game. Memphis is in the bottom half of the league on the glass, ranking 17th with 43.5 boards a night. The Grizzlies are 25th in the league in assists with 20.7 per game. Memphis stands 3rd in the league in scoring defense as they allow 99.1 points per game. Mike Conley is second on the team with 18.7 points plus 5.9 dimes per contest. Marc Gasol averages a team high 19.8 points and six rebounds per game while Zach Randolph contributes 13.7 points plus 7.7 rebounds per game in a sixth man role. James Ennis adds eight points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, Vince Carter, Jarell Martin, Troy Daniels (10.4 points), Andrew Harrison and Tony Allen (10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.84 steals) are key members of the Memphis rotation. The Grizzlies are last in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 42.5 percent from the floor. Memphis is 18th in the league with nine threes per game and 22nd in the league as they shoot 34.8 percent from beyond the arc.
- Jazz are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 Sunday games
- Grizzlies are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 Sunday games
Utah is going to be a bit winded as they play their second straight and third in the last four nights here. Their deliberate pace offensively and their physical defense works in their favor in that regard as it tends to negate high octane teams. Memphis has looked good offensively recently but the fact remains they’re still a bottom five scoring offense in the league. This one looks like a slugfest on paper and that usually means a closer game. Take the points and the visitors here as the Jazz hang tough and potentially steal one late.
Pick: Utah Jazz +3
If there’s one thing you can be assured of when you face one of these two teams, it’s that you know you’re in for a tough night. Both teams are extremely physical and play tough, suffocating defense. Utah is extremely long and deep in their frontcourt rotation as they can roll Ingles, Lyles, Diaw, Favors and Gobert in a variety of combinations along with Hayward at the 3.
These two teams combined for an 82-73 slugfest three weeks ago in this building. That game came under the total by more than 30 points and the total is HIGHER in this one than it was then. The under has come up in 22 of the last 30 meetings between these teams in Memphis and in four of the last five meetings overall. Factor in Utah playing the second game of a back to back and this one seems to be pointing the same direction. In a game where it feels like 90 points will get it done, the under is the way to go.