by Daniel Olsen
Vivint Arena went Dark Mode, Donovan Mitchell came back into the lineup and the Utah Jazz cruised to a 141-129 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. This was crucial as the Jazz could not afford to head back to Memphis down 0-2. What was the difference in this win? It’s time to find out.
From the start, Donovan Mitchell was the key factor in this win for the Jazz. He attacked from the start and had a few choice words for Brooks. In Game 1, Brooks couldn’t miss and intimidated Jazz players in his own way.
Mitchell finished the game with 25 points in just 26 minutes of action. Former Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley chipped in 20 points and 15 assists of his own to be the first Jazz player with at least that many points and assists since John Stockton. Together, the two proved why they are one of the more dangerous backcourts in the NBA.
Gobert vs Morant
This David and Goliath matchup ironically produced several highlights on the night. Gobert denied Ja Morant early in the first half on a blocked dunk attempt. Morant would find revenge with an emphatic dunk in the second half. Gobert was just a second too late and had to watch as Morant sailed by.
The block by Gobert was ranked number one on SportsCenter Top 10 plays on ESPN for Wednesday. Morant had a windmill dunk that also made the cut.
The two key reasons the Jazz won were staying out of foul trouble and making a 180 degree improvement on outside shooting in this game. In Game 1, Gobert fouled out with a few minutes left and the Jazz only lost by three points.
In this game, Brooks only played 28 minutes due to his foul trouble in the opening minutes. He committed five fouls on the night. Valenciunas also had four fouls but also picked up two quick fouls early on. This caused plenty of foul language between the Grizzlies players committing the fouls and the Jazz players after celebrating the calls.
The Jazz improved their three-point percentage by 23 percent in this game. They shot just 25 percent in the first game and improved to nearly 50 percent in this one. With the exception of the third quarter, the Jazz flirted with 40 points in every frame. The Grizzlies had a 43 point third quarter which made the game interesting for a while in the fourth. With the Grizzlies down just six, the Jazz had to bring Mitchell back in to seal the deal.
Walking in Memphis
While it would have been nice to have Mitchell sit for the rest of the game, the Jazz will enjoy another two days off before playing against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night at FedEx Forum. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 7:30 PM Mountain Time.
For fans flying to Memphis, it’s important to know that Central BBQ is the best place to eat and Beale Street is the place to be for all downtown entertainment. This will be an exciting series between two of the most red-hot teams in the NBA.
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Featured image courtesy Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News