SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. — Last night, the Utah Jazz did not win as many expected them to in their playoff series opener, at home, against the Memphis Grizzlies. With a final of 112 t0 109, the first seed Jazz lost to the last-placed team in the playoff brackets as the first quarter ended at 24-17 Jazz, the halftime score was 49-43 Grizzlies and the third quarter ended with another lead by the Grizzlies of 83 to 74.
The Utah Jazz enters into the playoffs in the top five offensively and the top five defensively in the NBA. The team claims both the best record in the league and the #1 seed.
Prior to this game, Utah had beat the Grizzlies in six straight meetings including three this year. Star starter, Donovan Mitchell who injured his ankle in the middle of April and has subsequently missed 16 games was cleared to play, however, supported his teammates from the sidelines having not dressed for the game. His teammates covered his absence including Mike Conley who used to play for the Grizzlies and Rudy Gobert who few will forget his high profile role at the very beginnings of the COVID crisis. Gobert fouled out in the fourth quarter last night.
The start of the play-offs served as a full-circle moment from the mass exodus of stadiums to a full house of spectators who happily sat in front of, next to, and behind, wait for it ~ strangers. Those spectators witnessed some choice words exchanged between the two teams in the middle of the second quarter.
Six days of rest didn’t behoove the Jazz against the Grizzlies after winning their more recent battle against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the first year of the play-ins. Memphis’ rising star Ja Morant, part of the second-youngest team in the league, was instrumental in last night’s big win.
Each win these days for Utah is beneficial for Utah students as the team organization is generously gifting college scholarships to approximately 50 graduating high schoolers so far.
Game two of this series is scheduled for this Wednesday night on TNT.