The Utah Jazz finally know their opponent.
The No.1 seed Jazz will face the No.8 Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs, beginning Sunday night in Salt Lake City.
Here’s what you need to know:
Rested vs tested
The Jazz watched and waited.
“It’s really different,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “While some teams know who they are playing at the start of the week. Their preparation is very different from ours. Not knowing who you were playing you want to work so you are good to go, but at the same time you are really smart at what you do. We tried to set it up in a way where we didn’t just focus on our potential opponents and got to a crunch point where we feel like we could act quickly when we find out who he is. acts. But at the start of the week, part of the focus was on us. “
Part of that includes a well-deserved rest before the playoffs. The team took Monday and Tuesday off last week before resuming training.
“Rest has been a priority for us,” Snyder said. “Having a few injuries at the end of the year, we had guys playing a lot more minutes.”
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, could come to Salt Lake with tired legs. Memphis had to win two games in the play-in tournament just to advance to the playoffs. They beat the Spurs in Memphis, then held off Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in overtime Friday night in San Francisco.
Regular season records
The Jazz and Grizzlies got a preview of the playoffs in March. The teams played their three regular season games against each other over a five-day span.
Jazz swept the series.
March 26 in Utah – Jazz 117, Grizzlies 114
March 27 in Utah – Jazz 126, Grizzlies 110
March 31 in Memphis – Jazz 111, Grizzlies 107
But regular season wins don’t guarantee anything in the playoffs.
“At this point your record is 0-0,” Snyder said. “Like everyone. Particularly when you look at this year, I think the seeding is fundamentally irrelevant. Teams that play well and win matches will have the opportunity to improve, and I don’t think which player you play matters.
Star Guards Square Off
Donovan Mitchell was back in training Thursday after missing more than a month of action with a sprained right ankle, and believes he’s on track to be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs. the NBA.
“That’s the point,” he says. “Unless you fail – God forbid, knock on the wood. The goal is to be there and help my teammates try to win a championship. This has been the goal for the whole year. “
Mitchell averaged 26.4 points per game, his career record this season.
The Jazz will need this firepower to fight Memphis second student Ja Morant.
Morant scored 35 points on Friday to lead his team past Golden State. The point guard averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 assists per game during the regular season.
A battle of the great
Memphis center Jonas Valanciunas’s 23 points and 23 rebounds were huge in helping Memphis beat Spurs in Game 1 of the play-in tournament.
But Rudy Gobert, who has just been named a finalist for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, may have some ideas on how to keep him in check.
Mountain Mike returns to Memphis
Before the start of the NBA play-in tournament, Mike Conley was having a little trouble understanding the prospect of facing his former team.
“Dude, if we ended up playing the Grizzlies it would actually be a little wild,” he said. “I never thought I would be on the other side, entering the FedEx Forum as an opponent in a playoff atmosphere. It has never been a thought in my mind. Just say it would be weird and it would be awesome. “
Conley led the Grizzlies to 414 wins during his time in Memphis. Now the Utah Jazz point guard is looking to give them four losses.