Jazz Back Their Best Record with Series Win against Grizzlies


(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

By Frank Adler, Sports Writer


The Utah Jazz crushed the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 5. The game was over at the end of the first quarter when the Jazz scored 47 points, made 9 three-pointers, and shot almost 70% from the floor. The quarter and the game overall was a statement response to last year’s heartbreaking playoff series against the Denver Nuggets. Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert, and especially Donovan Mitchell came out with a vengeance. Anything less than the blowout they delivered would have been too little for them.


My biggest takeaway from this series is that the Jazz are the team to beat in the Western Conference. They showcased their talent and seamless offense all season long, but that was during the regular season. The Jazz needed to come out and play the same way in the playoffs. They did that and more in this series.

The Grizzlies were one of the toughest eight-seed teams in recent memory. They have multiple young stars, one young superstar, and a coach that channeled their emotion and inexperience into a positive attribute. The Grizzlies beat Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the clutch to make it into the playoffs. They then stole game one in their series against the Jazz, giving them heaps of confidence and momentum in the series.

Game one was telling for the Jazz. They missed the presence of Mitchell more than expected. It wasn’t only his individual contribution they missed, but his leadership and presence. The change in demeanor was palpable when he stepped on the floor in game two.

Mitchell matched the energy of Dillon Brooks, hyping up the crowd and talking trash throughout the series. Mitchell combined this emotion with savvy basketball IQ, quickly getting Brooks into foul trouble. The Jazz maintained this mental and physical edge for the entire series. They were too talented and too well-coached for the Grizzlies to win games against the full Jazz arsenal.

Individual Jazz Performers

Quin Snyder

Snyder had an excellent series going up against his former assistant coach. The Jazz played well in crunch time and even when the Grizzlies would go on massive runs, the Jazz always managed to answer. Snyder did this while also limiting Mitchell’s minutes, giving him a nice bridge to get back into playing shape.

The out-of-timeout plays were solid, and the Jazz had few lapses on defense and highly emotional moments. Although other coaches had great years, I think Quin deserves the Coach of the Year award and he proved that in this first-round series. 

Donovan Mitchell

As I stated before, Mitchell was crucial to the Jazz’s success in this series. He scored 46 points in 48 minutes. Every time he was on the court he made his presence felt and added another great playoff series to his already outstanding playoff performances. 

Rudy Gobert

Gobert had a solid series; he played great defense and seemed more nimble and adept at finishing around the rim than he usually does. He also did a fairly good job of not letting his emotions get the best of him.

Even though he had a good series, I think Gobert will have to play even better for the Jazz to win the championship. He gave up too many offensive rebounds and occasionally felt like he lacked the aggression necessary for the playoffs. Gobert has the physical tools to dominate most players in the NBA and he needs to come out with that mentality.

Mike Conley

Mike Conley had an excellent series going up against his former team. His two clutch threes were the catalyst for their game four win. Conley will have to match his intensity in upcoming series for the Jazz to be successful. He must also be healthy: hopefully the few days he’ll have between this series and round two will be enough to fully rehab his hamstring.

Role Players

Bojan Bogdanović and Royce O’Neale were great all series, making timely threes and playing good defense. Bogdanović has the ability to score points in bunches, scoring 29 points in the second half of Game 1. Derrick Favors and Georges Niang both played well off the bench, making shots, and giving valuable minutes.

Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles both had subpar series. Clarkson was incredibly ineffective in the first three games, but managed to pick up his performance in the last two. The 2021 6th Man of the Year is one of the game’s best pure scorers and as long his confidence remains high I have complete faith in his ability to bounce back. He hasn’t lost his green light and soon the shots will start to fall the same way they did in the regular season.

Ingles was largely ineffectual, but his trash talk and leadership intangibles are worth far more than is given credit. I’d like to see him take a couple more shots, so that when he gets the ball he’s warmed up and ready to drain threes with confidence. 

What’s Next

The Jazz will play the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers-Dallas Mavericks series. The Jazz should be the favorite against either team. I personally like the Clippers vs. Jazz matchup because of how strong the Jazz’s home court advantage is and how weak the Clippers’ is — they still have cardboard cutouts in the stands.

I think the Jazz match up well with the Mavericks also. Utah has proven that they can win games against outstanding individual performances, and I think they could survive the Luka Dončić onslaught and still win.

Right now, the Jazz have time to rest and study their next matchup. This is the team to beat in the playoffs. 


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