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Utah Jazz

Thursday Game Previews: Blazers host Jazz in season series finale; Grizzlies begin road trip in Minnesota

Damian Lillard and Donovan Mitchell
(Getty Images)

Utah Jazz (29-22) vs Portland Trail Blazers (31-20)

Where to Watch

Date: Thursday, Jan. 31

Time: 9:00 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: Moda Center, Portland, OR

Game Preview

The new year has treated the Portland Trail Blazers very well.

In 2019, the Blazers have gone 10-4 with an offensive rating of 116.1 (3rd-best) and a defensive rating of 108.5 (8th-best), making them the only team other than the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks to feature in the top 10 of both categories.

The team's backcourt fuels their offense and from the season so far, there's reason to be optimistic about the campaign ahead. Damian Lillard has been quietly rankings among the league's best offensive stars this season but the team's other two stars (CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic) are struggling to be consistent with their production.

CJ McCollum did record his first career triple-double (28-10-10) in the team's recent win but he's shooting a career-low 35.5% on 3-point shooting (one of his biggest strengths) and his assists average of 2.8 is lowest in four years. Imagine how well Portland would start playing if he finds his shooting stroke.

Coming to the Utah Jazz, the team didn't make a lot of noise until their recent six-game win streak, which sprung up the Conference standings. Including the win streak, the Jazz have nine of their last ten games.

Until their recent stretch, where they played eight of their last ten games at home, the Jazz had played a road-heavy schedule. They withstood all that competition, coming out with a .500 record and their recent homestand has helped them establish some consistency.

Utah's always been a team that has played through their defense with the Frenchmen Rudy Gobert acting as their anchor. Despite having a rough schedule, they have carried last year's league-best defense (102.9) and it currently ranks 4th (104.8).

While the defense has been spectacular, Donovan Mitchell has spurred the team's offense (scring 25+ points in 10 of the last 12 games), making a strong case to be nominated as an All-Star reserve.

Game Notes

  • The Blazers have a strong home record of 21-7 (75%) in their 28 previous home games.
  • The Jazz, meanwhile, have a 14-13 record on the road.
  • The Portland franchise will reportedly be without Nik Stauskas (Knee) for this game.
  • On the other hand, the Jazz are expected to miss four players - Dante Exum (Ankle), Raul Neto (Groin), Tony Bradley (Knee), and Thabo Sefolosha (Hamstring).

Last Time They Played

Date: Jan. 22, 2019

Score: Blazers 109-104 Jazz

Blazers: Jusuf Nurkic - 22 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 6 blocks.

Jazz: Donovan Mitchell - 36 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Box Score


Memphis Grizzlies (20-31) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (24-26)

Where to Watch

Date: Thursday, Jan. 31

Time: 6:30 AM IST

TV: Sony Ten 1

Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Game Preview

With a win in a recent contest against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, the Memphis Grizzlies ended their 8-game losing streak but given their record, there's no doubting the fact that their season is surely lost. To make matters worst, they lost on Tuesday against the Denver Nuggets by blowing a huge 25-point lead.

Since leading the Western Conference at the Thanksgiving break at 12-5, the Grizzlies have won just eight games in 33 chances which includes multiple losing streaks (3) of five or more.

Despite having the 8th-best defense in the league, the Grizzlies' 28th ranked offense (104.0 rating) is not helping their cause.

After a positive start, the season seems to be slipping from under the Grizzlies.

Coming to the Minnesota franchise, a team that has shown glimpses of improvement since Jimmy Butler was traded but it's time to get consistent with it.

Since Butler was traded, the team has certainly shown glimpses of getting better but it's time they be consistent about it. With the Playoff race heating up for the last few spots in either Conference, a win over the Grizzlies right now would be very significant to Minnesota's postseason hopes.

Game Notes

  • The Timberwolves have a 16-9 record in their 25 previous home games.
  • On the other hand, the Grizzlies have a 8-17 record on the road.
  • The home team are expected to be without four players - Tyus Jones (Ankle) and Jeff Teague (Foot) while the duo of Robert Covington (Ankle), and Derrick Rose (Ankle) are said to be game-time decisions.
  • The Grizzlies, meanwhile, will be without Dillion Brooks (Toe), Chandler Parsons (Not Injury related), Omri Casspi (Knee), Garrett Temple (Shoulder). JaMychal Green is reportedly a game-time decision for this contest.

Last Time They Played

Date: Nov. 19, 2018

Score: Grizzlies 100-87 Timberwolves

Grizzlies: Marc Gasol - 26 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals on 61.5% shooting.

Timberwolves: Robert Covington - 15 points, 4 steals, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Box Score

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