Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Utah Jazz
When: 7:00 pm CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis Grizzlies (34-24), Utah Jazz (31-29)
Expected Starting Lineups:
Memphis: Mike Conley, Quincy Pondexter, Rudy Gay, Marreese Speights, Marc Gasol
Utah: Devin Harris, Gordon Heyward, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Milsap, Al Jefferson
Memphis tries to end Redemption Week winning 3 out of 4 games against teams that the Grizzlies had failed to defeat earlier in the season. So far the team is 2-1 with wins against the Clippers and Suns and a tough loss @ San Antonio.
Memphis can pull back within 1 game of the 4th playoff spot in the West with a win. It won’t be easy but the Grizzlies should be getting Tony Allen back from his lip injury which should help. The Grizzlies return home where they have won 6 consecutive games as well. A large crowd is expected to bring playoff atmosphere in this important game.
Memphis believes they have a legitimate opportunity to host a playoff series for the first time in franchise history but defeating Utah could be vital in that pursuit. The LA Clippers hold a game and a half lead currently and will likely be two games ahead after hosting Golden State this afternoon.
Utah had a chance to greatly improve their playoff standing with Houston and Denver losing last night but failed to defeat New Orleans last night. Utah has now lost two straight after splitting a back to back series with San Antonio (who played the second game without Parker, Ginobili and Duncan).
Utah easily defeated the Grizzlies both earlier matchups this season. However, the Jazz did have Raja Bell and Josh Howard in those games. Neither player is available for tonight. Blake Ahern, a D-League all-star PG, was signed recently by the Jazz to see if he can play in the big leagues.
Former Memphis Grizzlies player DeMarre Carroll has moved into the starting rotation with those injuries. Carroll, nicknamed the Junkyard Dog, is expected to bring a lot of energy but little offensive firepower. However Carroll has managed to reach double figures against San Antonio and Houston so he can’t be totally forgotten about.
Prediction: Utah is road-weary and injured. Memphis wants to keep things rolling despite the loss at San Antonio. Memphis gets their redemption.