Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies: Utah aims for seventh straight win

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 4: Marc Gasol /

The Utah Jazz will look to extend their win streak to seven and sweep their current road trip as they visit the Memphis Grizzlies tonight.

It’s been smooth sailing for the Utah Jazz of late as they’ve put together an impressive six-game winning streak that’s seen them come out on top against some of the best teams in the league while logging a number of blowout victories. The Jazz have been firing on all cylinders on both ends of the court and their recent hot play specifically has a lot to do with how well Ricky Rubio has played.

He had a career-high 34 points in the recent win over the San Antonio Spurs and continues to impress in a number of ways. His confidence appears to be at an all-time high and he’s finally starting to click and feel comfortable with his Jazz teammates.

But although the Jazz have played exceptionally of late, they’ll still need to go into tonight’s game prepared and with the same energy they’ve had the past six games. Their opponent, the Memphis Grizzlies, may be one of the worst teams in the league this season, especially with leading scorer Tyreke Evans shut down for the trade deadline, but Utah still can’t afford to get complacent.

As my J-Notes colleague Hayden Van de Maat pointed out earlier today, the Grizzlies still boast one of the premier centers in the league in Marc Gasol and if Rudy Gobert and Co. aren’t able to hold him in check, it could spell bad news for Utah. Beyond him, the Grizzlies have a few guys that have stepped up and played relatively well this season, but overall they’ve been ravaged by injuries and have struggled to bounce back from the fallout that occurred between Gasol and former head coach David Fizdale.

Those struggles were in full effect last night as Memphis fell in embarrassing fashion 108-82 to the Atlanta Hawks who are dead last in the Eastern Conference and tied with the Dallas Mavericks for the worst record in the NBA. Then again, the Jazz were handily defeated by the Hawks the last time they faced off, so it just goes to show that there’s not a single team in this league that can be slept on. Memphis certainly falls in that category tonight.

The Jazz will benefit from the fact that the Grizzlies will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back whereas Utah is coming in with a day of rest. However, this contest is also the final one of a four-game road trip for the Jazz, so it’s entirely possible that they could be dealing with some fatigue as well.

With that being the case, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was somewhat of a low-scoring affair. Then again, the Jazz have surpassed the 120-point mark in each of their last four contests whereas the reeling Grizzlies have lost four straight, giving up over 100 in each game, so if that trend continues and Utah maintains their recent energy, we could very well have yet another blowout on our hands.

Honestly, I think this will land somewhere in the middle. Fatigue will affect both teams, so Utah will cool off somewhat, but I still expect them to come away with the win.

Prediction: Utah 112, Memphis 98

Next: Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies: Battle of the Bigs

As the Utah Jazz slowly but surely work their way back into playoff contention with a 25-28 record that has them just three games out of the eighth seed in the West, every game is important, especially extremely winnable ones against inferior teams such as tonight’s contest against the Grizzlies.

Earning a win tonight would be big for Utah’s confidence as it would extend their streak to seven games while earning them a sweep of the current road trip, which is obviously no small feat. The Jazz and Grizzlies tip-off this evening at 6:00 PM MT.