High-scoring Jazz to host Grizzlies
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SALT LAKE CITY - Lacking a scoring punch has not emerged as a problem for the Utah Jazz early in the season like it has in past seasons.
The Jazz had no trouble scoring baskets in bunches in their first two games. Getting stops has been a more pressing concern for Utah going into Monday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Utah (1-1) allowed both Sacramento and Golden State to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor and allowed 123.5 points per game over those two contests. It ultimately cost the Jazz in a 124-123 loss to the Warriors on Friday. Golden State's MVP duo of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant combined for 69 points on 55 percent shooting against Utah.
Their effort offset a franchise record 47 second-quarter points and 81 first-half points for Utah. Still, the Jazz feel like progress is being made in that area.
"We picked it up a lot more this game," guard Donovan Mitchell said. "There's a lot of things we can build on. We rose the bar from game one, but we got 80 more."
If the defense can reach the same level the offense currently occupies, Utah could quickly become an impossible-to-beat team.
One reason for the surge in offensive production is the precision shooting from Joe Ingles. Through Utah's first two games, Ingles is shooting 70.4 percent from the field and 64.7 percent from 3-point range. He leads the Jazz with 24.5 points per game.
Utah has leaned a bit heavily on the outside shot through its first two games, which could be a concern if they don't fall. The Jazz are averaging 36.5 attempts from the perimeter per game so far.
It isn't a concerning trend for the Utah coaches at this point.
"We want to attack the rim," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "If we can attack the rim to generate open looks from three, we want to take them. They're worth three points. But we're not going to live on the line alone."
Memphis (1-1) took a dramatic leap forward on offense in its season opener. The Grizzlies swarmed Atlanta 131-117 on Friday behind 30 points from Garrett Temple and 24 points from rookie forward Jaren Jackson. Mike Conley also had 16 points and dished out 11 assists.
The Grizzlies scored a franchise record 77 first-half points and shot 54.3 percent from the floor - including 13-of-26 from long distance. It stood out in sharp contrast to the 29.8 percent shooting effort Memphis had in their loss to the Pacers.
"We just have to find that consistency that we're looking for," Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "Whenever you bring a new group together, you have those ups and downs. We're getting better. The guys believe in what they're doing and they're connected with one another."
Jackson could move into the starting lineup on Monday. Starting power forward JaMychal Green suffered a fractured jaw when he got elbowed in the face during the win over the Hawks. He played just 14 minutes before suffering the injury.
Green is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks following surgery to repair the jaw. It marked the second straight season he has suffered a serious injury in the team's home opener. He returned to the lineup later in the season and averaged 10.3 points and 8.4 rebounds over 55 games.
Memphis selected Jackson with no. 4 pick overall in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Updated October 21, 2018