When and where: December 7, 2019, Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT, 10:00 PM ET
The slumping Utah Jazz hope to avoid a fourth consecutive loss on Saturday when hosting the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. An ugly 121-96 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers represented rock bottom for a Jazz team that has suddenly turned into a liability on defense. Those struggles have caused them to lose five of their last six games. The young Grizzlies know a thing or two about losing. They are trying to bounce back from back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers.
Grizzlies facing realityLosing is the least fun thing to do in the NBA, but the Grizzlies are exactly where they need to be right now. They are clearly on the rebuild and accumulating the right pieces around star rookie guard Ja Morant in hopes of one day competing for a playoff spot. That day obviously isn’t any time soon after watching them lose their 15th game of the season to a bad Bulls team.
They’ll try to turn it around in Thursday’s run-in with the Jazz. The Grizzlies are going to have quite the conundrum on their hands in figuring out ways to slow down star guard Donovan Mitchell and forward Bojan Bogdanovic. Memphis sits at 22nd in the league in defensive efficiency with opponents averaging a 46.2 field goal shooting percentage against them.
They have hope in the Jazz continuing to slip up defensively and open up opportunities for rookie Ja Morant to steal the show. Not many offensive opportunities have existed for a Grizzlies team that ranks fifth-worst in offensive efficiency. The future is clearly a long ways from now for Morant and company.
While Kyle Anderson is officially listed as doubtful for the game with a heel injury, Dillon Brooks is questionable with a shoulder ailment.
Can the Jazz find their defensive mojo?Does anyone remember when the Jazz had the best defensive team in basketball?
Those days are long and gone after the team’s nightmare road trip that ended with them going 1-4 against at least four teams that mattered. Yet, the scariest problem for the Jazz has been their lack of good defense being played on the floor. They obviously aren’t a great offensive team, but they’ve always been able to overcome that to some degree by playing tremendous defense.
But times have surely changed as the season moves along. The Jazz have slipped to the 10th-ranked defense, while coming in 8th with their allowed shooting percentage (43.7). They’ll be fortunate enough to not be facing a juggernaut offensive team like the Lakers on Saturday.
If there was ever a game for them to get back on track defensively, this would be the game considering the offensive struggles for the Grizzlies this season.
Morant is a young player trying to learn how to be a professional, while also being called on to led a team of professionals. It isn’t a situation conducive for winning.
The supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Grizzlies are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 Saturday games.
- Grizzlies are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning straight up record.
- Grizzlies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games against a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Grizzlies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Jazz are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a double-digit loss at home.
- Jazz are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Saturday games.