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Jazz vs. Grizzlies Game 3 preview: Slow down the dynamic Ja Morant and two other things Jazz must accomplish

With the series tied at a game apiece, Jazz take their show on the road for a pair of important games at Memphis

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Jazz guard Mike Conley has a few words for Memphis Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks during a playoff game in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley has a few words for Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks after Brooks was blocked by Jazz center Rudy Gobert in Game 2 of their NBA playoffs first-round series at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Utah won 141-129.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Utah Jazz head into Saturday’s Game 3 contest against the Memphis Grizzlies, tied in the series, 1-1, looking to regain home-court advantage with a win on the road.

Game 3 of the Jazz-Grizzlies first-round playoff series tips off at FedEx Forum Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MDT on ESPN.

While the Jazz will need to do many things correctly in order to get their second win of the best-of-seven series, let’s go over three things that should be at the top of the Jazz’s priority list.

Slow down Ja Morant

The Grizzlies’ leading man scored 26 points in Game 1 and a career-high 47 points in Game 2. Though the Jazz still managed to win Game 2, 141-129, they’d prefer to contain Morant or at the very least make things harder for him.

Morant’s most potent moves come in the paint and usually result in short push shots and floaters in the lane. The Jazz will most likely employ a variety of coverage styles on Morant with the ultimate goal of making sure he doesn’t dictate the game with his interior scoring.

Defend without fouling

Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley were in foul trouble in Game 1 and ultimately Gobert fouled out in the fourth quarter and the Jazz lost the opening game of the series. Though the Jazz didn’t suffer the same type of foul trouble in Game 2, they sent Morant to the free-throw line 20 times, where he scored 15 of his 47 points. Overall the Grizzlies attempted 38 free throws in Game 2.

This goes hand-in-hand with the first point. The Jazz need to guard Morant, and the entire Grizzlies team, better but they need to do it without fouling, as to not give up free points.

Make quick decisions

The Jazz are their own worst enemy when it comes to the offense slowing down. At times the ball can stick, making off-ball movement and drive-and-kick plays more difficult. This was a particularly egregious problem in the third quarter of Game 2, when the Grizzlies outscored the Jazz 43-29.

Whether they drive, pass or shoot, the Jazz need to continue making quick decisions, keep the ball moving, and maintain good spacing in order for their offense to run effectively for the full 48 minutes.

Jazz vs. Grizzlies Round 1 Schedule
Sun 5/23 Memphis Utah 1 7:30 PM TNT
Wed 5/26 Memphis Utah 2 8:00 PM TNT
Sat 5/29 Utah Memphis 3 7:30 PM ESPN
Mon 5/31 Utah Memphis 4 7:30 PM TNT
Wed 6/2 Memphis Utah 5* TBD TBD
Fri 6/4 Utah Memphis 6* TBD TBD
Sun 6/6 Memphis Utah 7* TBD TBD
*Game if necessary