by Daniel Olsen
When the surprise news came that Donovan Mitchell would not be playing Game 1 of the NBA playoffs, the feeling surrounding the Utah Jazz matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies changed. Suddenly, the eight seed felt they had a chance against the one seed. That belief was challenged throughout the game. However, the Grizzlies stole a game from the home team with a final score of 112-109.
The game started favorably for the Jazz as they led by seven at the end of the first quarter. They also led by as many as 14 in the second quarter. However, the Grizzlies came storming back as they took a six point lead at halftime.
Rough Second Quarter
The second quarter was all Grizzlies as the Jazz did not hit their usual shots from three as they were 25 percent on the night. They also turned the ball over excessively with 16 giveaways in the game. That is a nightmare scenario against a transition-heavy offense.
Another reason the Grizzlies came back was because the Jazz gave away the ball early in the shot clock and often. At one point, there seemed to be a turnover on consecutive possessions.
The tough part is, the Jazz have few people on the roster that can get their own shot whenever they wanted. Conley did catch fire early. However, the Grizzlies switched long athletic defenders on him later in the game which made it tough throughout the rest of the night.
In these cases, it’s important for the offense to be a well-oiled machine to create open shots. Since this did not happen, the shooting percentage dropped significantly due to the lack of quality looks.
Coach Quin Snyder also mentioned during a timeout before the fourth quarter that the players seemed too timid as they were passing up open shots. It’s important to run the offense and not let the ball stick. However, as soon as there is an open high quality shot, the players need to take it.
It was a heated game as a scuffle in the first half led to a technical since Miye Oni left the bench. There were several physical fouls throughout the game and plenty of chatter between the teams with Joe Ingles leading the way.
Second Half Setback
Rudy Gobert had some foul trouble and had to sit for a while in the third and part of the fourth quarter. He then picked up his fifth and six foul and that made a huge difference in the game. Jonas Valenciunas also had some foul trouble, but he was able to stay in for the Grizzlies with five fouls.
Almost is not Enough
Ultimately, the Jazz fell one Bogdanovic buzzer beater short of tying the game. The Grizzlies made a wise decision to foul Bogdanovic with his team up three points. They then scored a quick layup on the other end which was a little debatable of a decision. The path was wide open and they could have ran out some more clock to end the game there.
With four seconds left, Bogdanovic got a pass at the top of the key. He threw up a contested fadeaway three that fell short at the buzzer.
Dillon Brooks led the way for the Grizzlies with 31 points in his first playoff game. Conley had a double-double against his former team. Gobert was also a part of the double-double club on the night in just 25 minutes of play-time. Bogdanovic led the way with 29 points.
The Jazz face a pivotal Game 2 matchup on Wednesday night at 8 PM Mountain Time on TNT. They don’t want to go down 0-2 before heading to Memphis. The Grizzlies were the last Western Conference team to defeat a one seed in the first round. That 2011 matchup was against the San Antonio Spurs a decade ago.
Featured image courtesy Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News