The best regular season in the history of the Memphis Grizzlies franchise will end tonight, when the Grizz host the Utah Jazz at Fed Ex Forum. Going into this game, the Grizzlies will have to decide whether they want to play for home court advantage in round 1, or give their starters a rest going into the playoffs. My guess is, they’ll go with the former, giving the Jazz everything they can handle.
This is a game Utah desperately needs to win. If the Jazz beat the Grizzlies, and the Lakers lose to the Rockets, the Jazz will grab the 8th and final spot in the West. Both teams have a lot to play for tonight, so this should be a very exciting season finale.
Like the Grizzlies, the Jazz are known for their prowess up front, as they have several excellent big men, both in the starting lineup, and coming off the bench. Al Jefferson is one of the best scoring centers in the game, while Paul Millsap continues to be extremely productive despite not being noticed too often. Meanwhile, the Jazz also bring Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter off the bench. Many have speculated that in the offseason, the Jazz will move either Jefferson or Millsap in order to push one of these players into the starting lineup. It’s become obvious that favors and Kanter are both starting for many teams, and it will be interesting to see what they do with more playing time. In the mean time, the duel between the front courts of Utah and Memphis should be fascinating to watch.
With Marc Gasol – the best defensive center (and maybe the best center) in the NBA – going against Al Jefferson, who might be the best offensive center in the league is certainly going to be fun to watch. The Z-Bo-Millsap battle should be exciting in its own right as well. In Saturday’s loss to the Clippers, DeAndre Jordan was surprisingly effective in the first half, hitting eight field goals. For the Grizzlies to win tonight, Gasol will have to stay out of foul trouble, and play his usual vicious defense against Jefferson int he post.
As for the back court, the Grizzlies would appear to have a distinct advantage in this category. Mo Williams is not without his charms, but he’s nothing special, and without LeBron James around to make him look good, that’s become more and more evident in recent years. Meanwhile, Randy Foye is a reasonably effective shooting guard, but he’s not particularly scary, and his effectiveness mostly depends on whether or not his three point shot is working. this will not be one of Tony Allen’s bigger challenges.
The Jazz look for a playoff spot, while the grizzlies look for a home court. this will definitely be an intense one, with neither team willing to give up anything. My guess is the Grizz play their hearts out, ending the season on a high note.