Jazz vs. Grizzlies Odds, Game 3 Preview, Prediction: Can Utah Slow Down Ja Morant in Memphis? (May 29)
Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ja Morant and Mike Conley.
- The Utah Jazz will look to take the series lead when they travel to Tennessee to take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.
- Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks have caused major problems for the Jazz in this series, so containing them will have to be a top priority for Utah.
- Matthew Trebby breaks down the game below and explains whether or not the Jazz can do that while sharing a betting pick and prediction based on his analysis.
Jazz vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Moneyline||-200 / +165|
|Time||Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday evening and via DraftKings.|
The Grizzlies entered their best-of-seven series against the Jazz hot, having beaten the Spurs and Warriors in the play-in tournament to get here.
They kept things going in Utah, taking Game 1 against a surprisingly Donovan Mitchell-less Jazz before putting up an impressive second-half effort to make Utah sweat out Game 2. Now, the series shifts to Memphis, where the Grizzlies will look to regain the series lead.
Let’s break down the first two games and see how it translates to betting value in Game 3.
Utah’s Defense Has to Improve … Right?
The most confusing part of this series is the Jazz’s defense, which has struggled to contain Ja Morant through two games, especially Game 2.
Utah had the third-best Defensive Rating in the NBA during the regular season at 107.5, according to NBA Advanced Stats. That’s what made it seem like this could finally be the Jazz’s year in the playoffs.
It took a phenomenal shooting performance to down Memphis in Game 2, though. Utah shot 54.4% from the field and 19-of-39 (48.7%) from 3-point range. The Jazz never slowed down, scoring at least 36 points in three of the four quarters en route to a win.
That victory seemed like it was in the bag thanks to a 20-point halftime lead, but the Grizzlies won the third quarter, 43-29, because of Morant.
Offensively, Utah hasn’t changed much from the regular season. It still relies heavily on the 3-point shot, although it helps to have Mitchell back. The Jazz also thrive on the glass thanks to Rudy Gobert, who led the team in minutes in Game 2.
The defense has to improve, though. I think a lot of it has to do with Mitchell’s return in Game 2. Having a key player like that come back after a lengthy absence will always take time to get used to, and doing so in the playoffs isn’t easy.
I expect Utah to pick it up defensively in Game 3. It also seems unlikely that Morant and Dillon Brooks combine to shoot 25-of-40 from the field again.
Grizzlies Look to Keep Riding Morant
Through two playoff games, the Grizzlies have also gone all-in on some predominant patterns from the regular season.
The first is a reliance on shooting inside the arc. Memphis is averaging 21.5 3-point shots per game, which was the second-lowest in the NBA entering Friday night’s slate of playoff games. The Grizzlies’ 71 2-point shots per game lead remaining playoff teams.
With that comes the second pattern: Everything goes through Morant.
Morant is 2-of-8 from 3-point range through two games, but he’s shooting 55.3% from the field. As he did against the Warriors, he’s having his way in terms of getting in the paint. Utah was such a fantastic defensive team during the regular season, so its inability to contain Morant has been a disappointment.
It mostly speaks to Morant’s greatness, though. His 47 points in Game 2 were spectacular, as he singlehandedly kept the Grizzlies in that game. The 21-year-old is going to have to keep up his stellar play to keep Memphis’ season alive.
Brooks is also thriving through two games in this series, averaging 27 points per game on 57.5% shooting. He has averaged only 32.1 minutes per game thus far, although that’s primarily due to foul trouble in Game 2.
In terms of regression to the mean, the Jazz’s defense stands out. It simply has to get better. I refuse to believe the regular season was some mirage and that they suddenly have to win shootouts. Otherwise, they’re in trouble against some of these talented offenses in the Western Conference.
I like only having to lay five in Game 3. I see Utah making it a priority to contain Morant and Brooks inside the arc. If the Jazz don’t do so, then it’s time to really start hammering the panic button.
There’s simply too much of a track record (AKA the entire regular season, with or without Mitchell) that tells me Utah is a good defensive team. I’ll take the Jazz as road favorites here to take a lead in the series.
Pick: Jazz -5