After hitting a bit of a mid-season snag, the Utah Jazz are quietly rolling once again with six straight wins. The next victim in line could very well be the Memphis Grizzlies, who have to be wondering what in the world they did to deserve Wednesday’s matchup. This will mark the third time in four games that they have had to face arguably the best team in the NBA, and after a close three-point loss last week, Memphis turned around the next night and lost by 16. Will things continue to trend in the wrong direction for the Grizzlies, or will the third time be the charm? We’ll tell you where to look at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
Utah Jazz vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 – 08:00 PM EDT at FedExForum
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Utah went from best team ever, to sham, back to legitimate title contender in the span of a month. The Jazz are now fully recovered from their eight-game stumble that took them from the end of February into March, winning six straight games and looking like they’ll never lose again. Their most recent triumph came on Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers where, impossibly, they allowed just 75 points in a blowout, 39-point win. Utah’s defense has been exceptional over its six-game run, allowing under 100 points in three of those games and posting a league-best 100.2 defensive rating.
Utah has backed up that defensive performance — which has been its signature all season long — with a blistering-hot offense, which sits third in offensive efficiency at 119.5 points per 100 possessions during the last six games. It also leads the league in rebounding rate at 53.7%, and sits second in True Shooting percentage at 60.5%. The Jazz are also hitting 40.8% of threes which, yep, ranks third in the league. Whoa.
This is an incredibly balanced offensive attack all across the board, and there’s nothing left to really say about it. So, I’ll mention instead that the Jazz’s team plane hit a bird on its way to Memphis and was forced to make an emergency landing. The team was shaken, but otherwise unharmed, and made an emergency landing. I’m not sure that factors into how the game will go, but folks occasionally like to bet on games based on travel interruptions, so do with that info what you will.
As mentioned at the onset of this breakdown, the Grizzlies have already lost to the Jazz twice in the last three games, covering in one of them, and now have to give it yet another go. Considering Memphis closed at 10 points in the first game, and nine in the second, it’s somewhat intriguing that this line is set so low, at 7.5 points. Obviously that’s due to the fact that the Grizzlies will be hosting this time around, but still, considering how little home court has meant this year, I think it’s a pretty great bargain.
The Grizzlies’ defense was a bit of an issue for them in those two games against Utah, though it’s hard to blame them considering what kind of team they were up against. They allowed roughly 116 or so points per 100 possessions, which isn’t very good, and follows along with a trend that’s been developing all season long of lackluster defense. Utah was able to post a 52% Effective Field Goal percentage in the first go around, then 60.3%, signifying how it’s been trending in the opposite direction for Memphis.
Offensively, the Grizzlies scored just 43% of their points in the paint during those two games, but shot pretty poorly from deep, so they were pretty stumped when it came to scoring. Driving in on Rudy Gobert isn’t very easy, but getting up contested threes wasn’t as well.
Here, I think I’m pretty forced to take the Jazz once again at this number for my NBA pick. They’ve been too dominant on both sides of the ball, and though they’ve been worse on the road, they’re still 13-11 ATS. I’d bet this out to -8, I’m that confident in the Jazz. Their defense looks nothing short of legendary at the moment, and the Grizzlies’ one-dimensional attack isn’t going to get it done.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.