Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz – NBA, May 26, 2021
Utah hosts the Grizzlies at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in game two of this first-round playoff matchup. The Jazz will be looking to bounce back instantly after the Grizzlies shocked the NBA world by winning game one. In all truth, the Jazz were their own worst enemies, and you have to feel they can’t play that badly two games running. They shot at 42% from the field goal range, 25% from distance, made a massive 16 turnovers, and still got to within three of the Grizzlies.
That win was the Grizzlies’ first in seven attempts against the Jazz, and they will be hoping to get their own win streak going against the number one ranked team in the west. The win also ended a run of four straight defeats in Utah. Before that losing streak, they had won in Utah five times in a row.
Over the previous ten meetings, the Jazz has averaged five more points per game than the Grizzlies. Looking at the standard of those games, they have generally been poor, and game one was no different. Let’s hope game two will be now that we have a storyline unfolding with Memphis leading the series.
Grizzlies vs. Jazz Odds
There is no doubt the Jazz will be fired up for this one, but I am surprised by the margin of the spread here, given the Grizzlies won game one. Many will argue the Jazz can’t play that poorly again and will be entirely focused tonight, but you have to feel the win will have given Memphis great confidence going into this one. Plus, the Jazz has all the pressure and expectations on their shoulders.
Although the tie would not be over if they lost here, they certainly won’t relish the thought of going to Memphis two games down. The points total looks about right and will be hard to take on either way.
Going with the Grizzlies?
The Grizzlies come into game two in great form and arguably finished the regular season stronger than any other team. They have won their last three in a row and lost only one of their previous nine matches. Their defense during this run has been superb, and they have restricted their opponents to 110-points or less in seven of those games.
The only team to beat the Grizzlies during this period was the Warriors. Memphis had an off-night shooting at 43% from the field goal range and only 24% from the three-point range. However, they got their revenge a week later by knocking out the well-fancied Warriors in the play-in tournament and progressing to the first round of the Playoffs.
Their form on the road has been sketchy, but they have managed to pick up three wins from their previous four road trips.
Here are the latest betting trends for Memphis:
|ATS||They have only won two of their previous six matches.|
|Total||Seven of their last ten games have gone under the betting total.|
|ATS||Memphis has won 13 and lost seven of their previous 20 matches against Utah.|
|ATS||The Grizzlies have won 13 of their last 19 games on the road.|
|Total||All of their previous six visits to Utah have seen the points total go over.|
|SU||They have won eight of their last nine matches against Western Conference opposition.|
|ATS||Memphis has only lost two of their previous nine games against teams based in the Northwest Division.|
Memphis has an average offense that has struggled to trouble the scoreboard when shooting from distance throughout the season.
However, their attack has been much more potent on the road as they have averaged three more points per game on their travels, making them the fifth-best offense on the road in the NBA.
They move the ball around the court very well, which has led to a high number of assists this season.
Although their defense has been magnificent recently, it has been average throughout the season, despite them holding their opponents to a respectable 46% field goal percentage. That is precisely what the Jazz are averaging this season, so we should expect much the same tonight.
Perhaps their biggest strength has been their rebounding, particularly in attack, where it ranks second in the league behind the Pelicans. This has been thanks in large to the exploits of Jonas Valanciunas, who is having the season of his life as he is upon almost all of his career stats this year.
This, combined with their high number of steals they are making per game, means they tend to see a lot of the ball most nights, which in itself is a great defensive mechanism.
The Grizzlies only have one absentee tonight as McDermott miss out with a foot injury.
Going with the Jazz?
Despite losing three of their last five games, the Jazz ended the regular season with the best overall record in the league. Although their form hasn’t been the best, their defensive qualities have remained, and the 112-points scored by tonight’s opponents were the most they have conceded in their previous four matches.
It is also worth highlighting they had very little to play for apart from the game against Memphis as they had the number one seed wrapped up for quite some time.
They finished the season with a record of 30-5 at home, which is the best record in the NBA. However, they will be slightly concerned by the fact they have lost their last two at home. As we know, the last game was against the Grizzlies, but the one before that was against the Trail Blazers. It was another poor shooting display by Utah, who went for 41% from the field goal range and 30% from distance.
Here are the latest betting trends for Utah:
|ATS||Like tonight’s opponents, the Jazz has also lost four of their previous six matches.|
|SU||Utah is 7-3 in their last ten games.|
|Total||Five of their previous six matches against Memphis have gone over the betting total.|
|Total||Only one of their last five home games has failed to go over the points total.|
|SU||They have only lost three of their previous 17 matches against teams in the Southwest Division.|
The Jazz has one of the best attacks in the NBA this season, despite having a very average field goal percentage of 46%. However, their three-point shooting more than makes up for this.
They also have a top-three ranked defense which makes for a deadly combination. They cover their opponents so well across the court that they must feel like they are playing against six players at times.
Utah has defended even better at home this season, if that’s at all possible, by conceding on average three fewer points per game. This makes them the number one ranked defense in the country.
The Jazz also has a fantastic rebounding unit. It’s the best in the NBA this season. This area of the game makes for an incredible spectacle as both teams aren’t accustomed to losing this battle.
This is in thanks to their rebounding superstar Rudy Gobert. Gobert has been sensational this season, and many have tipped him to become the defensive player of the season, and who could argue? However, he will have to keep his discipline in check after cooking out of game one.
However, where they don’t match up to their opponents is the amount of steals they are making per game, which is the second-lowest in the league this season.
The Jazz has a couple of players who face late fitness tests tonight. Ilyasova has been suffering from an illness and is listed as questionable to play, but they are hopeful that Mitchell will feature following a recent ankle injury.
Grizzlies vs. Jazz Pick
Although typically this fixture hasn’t been a great spectacle, the win for the Grizzlies in game one has at least given the serious a dramatic start. However, unfortunately for us fans, that’s where I believe the excitement will stop. I see this game following the same trend as the last one and many others between these by the Grizzlies slowing the game right down and trying to unsettle the Jazz.
Many will be expecting the Jazz to come out like a house on fire, but I believe they will take a conservative approach, especially given how poorly they have shot recently. Look for them to work the ball around the court and only release when the opportunity presents itself.
Therefore, I believe the game will go under the betting total, but I think it will only go under slightly. I feel the safer play is to take the Grizzlies with the points. It’s hard to ignore their great form right now.