by Daniel Olsen
Sometimes it’s important to put the past behind. The Utah Jazz lost the first game to the Memphis Grizzlies and will look to avoid a similar fate on Wednesday night. It’s time to look at some headlines leading up to this pivotal game in the NBA Playoffs.
Game 2 History
The Jazz are 15-13 all time in Game 2 of the first round. They are 2-2 since the 2016-2017 season. Following a Game 1 loss, they are 2-1 in the last three seasons. The Los Angeles Lakers lost Game 1 last year to the Portland Trailblazers before proceeding to bulldoze through the NBA en route to an NBA title. Hopefully these stats, combined with the return of Donovan Mitchell, will help Jazz fans relax. The sky isn’t falling.
Anniversary of the Grind City Grizzlies
This is a must win game. The Jazz don’t want to go behind 0-2 to a Memphis team that has a history of playing spoiler. In fact, it’s been one decade since the Grizzlies upset the top seed San Antonio Spurs in six games in the first round.
Current Jazz point guard Mike Conley was second on that Grizzlies team in points in that series with 14.3 per game. He trailed only Zach Randolph. It is a good thing to have Conley on the other side this time. He was once known as Memphis Mike. He is now Mountain Mike and will look to come out the winner again as he did in his Memphis days.
Three keys to success
It’s important to see how the Jazz can move on from this loss and do the necessary things to even the series up. Here are just a few things that will help them succeed.
1. Donovan Mitchell
It is imperative that Mitchell be cleared to play for this game. He averaged 35 points in the two games he played against the Grizzlies in the regular season. It will take less pressure on the offense as a whole if he’s healthy. Mitchell can create his own shot and that’s something the Jazz need to unlock their entire offense and play like they have been all season long.
The Jazz let Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant get whatever they wanted. Rudy Gobert did the best he could before fouling out and Favors held his own after that. The problem is, there is two much pressure on the guys down low. The Jazz backcourt will only get smaller with Mitchell in the lineup. They need to match the physicality of the Grizzlies. The Jazz need to prove they are not a mentally fragile team. So far, Memphis has shown they aren’t afraid of the top seed Jazz. That needs to change.
3. Limit turnovers
The Jazz were a little too careless with the basketball and let the Grizzlies quickly get back into the came. These turnovers led to consecutive transition points on the other end. That is a recipe to get an inferior team back in the game. Also, the Grizzlies thrive on transition points. The Jazz need to take care of the ball. If they do that, the game will slow down on the other end.
Final Score Prediction:
Utah 122 Memphis 110
Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images