The Timeout: How the Jazz beat Memphis Three times in a week

The Timeout: How the Jazz beat Memphis Three times in a week

by Daniel Olsen

Tuesday was a scary day for the Jazz organization. Their commercial flight had to make an emergency landing due to some damage caused by birds. However, they were able to quickly return to Salt Lake City and get another flight to Memphis. The trip was worth it as the Jazz beat the Grizzlies 111-107 to sweep the season series. How did they dominate this Memphis team? It’s time to dissect three reasons why they were able to make this happen.

Determination through adversity

It isn’t easy to win games without star players or play a basketball game 24 hours after a life-threatening experience. The Jazz somehow were able to do that. While Mitchell stayed behind due to personal reasons, the rest of the team was able to go to battle in Memphis in his absence. Mitchell should be ready in Salt Lake City when his team comes home to face the Chicago Bulls today.

Defense

The Grizzlies are a fast paced team in transition which can be tough for a traditionally powerful half-court defense like the Utah Jazz to contain. The Jazz held Memphis to just below their 111.6 points per game average in two of the three games. This led to easy buckets on the other end.

The Jazz weren’t perfect, but they found ways to capitalize. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies had missed opportunities. In one series during the third matchup, former Oregon player Dillon Brooks missed two open lay-ups in the fourth quarter. For each of those shots, the Jazz capitalized with a corner three on the other end. That is one part of the Jazz offense that is tough to withstand. The spacing makes it tough for defenders to get out to the shooters in the corners. In short, persistent defense led to easy offense on the other end.

Double-Digit Leads

The Jazz led by double digits in all three wins over Memphis. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, did not lead by single digits in any game. With the help of Ja Morant, they came back to make two of the three games close, but it’s never enough to just be on par with the Jazz. Winning teams pull off those close victories. The recipe to beat the Jazz seems to be to shoot the lights out and force them to come from down double digits.

In the third and final game, the Jazz briefly had a ten point lead in the second quarter. It was much tougher to keep the lead with Donovan Mitchell not playing. The Jazz trailed by a point going into the fourth quarter. Most of the time when the Jazz trail going into the final frame, they have lost. Luckily, it was just a one point deficit. The Jazz proved their ability to make runs when they needed to.

While the Grizzlies aren’t world-beaters, they are the best team the Jazz have played in this seven-game winning streak. It’s not impressive to just beat them once, but the Jazz beat them twice in 24 hours and three times in the last week. This doesn’t mean that the Jazz will definitely win a championship, but they are showing qualities of an elite team.

Featured image courtesy Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

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