NBA playoffs

HIGHLIGHTS: Jazz vs Grizzlies – NBA Western Conference playoffs first round 2021

JR Isaga
HIGHLIGHTS: Jazz vs Grizzlies – NBA Western Conference playoffs first round 2021

Utah Jazz vs Memphis Grizzlies live updates square. Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters (Jordan Clarkson) and Memphis Grizzlies' Twitter page (Ja Morant)

Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters (Jordan Clarkson) and Memphis Grizzlies' Twitter page (Ja Morant)

The Jazz, owners of the best NBA record this season, hope to avoid an upset against the young and hungry Grizzlies in their Western Conference first-round duel

The Memphis Grizzlies readily played the spoiler role to wrap up the 2021 NBA play-in tournament as they ended the Golden State Warriors’ up-and-down season led by MVP finalist and scoring champion Stephen Curry.

As upstart guard Ja Morant erupted for 35 points in the do-or-die overtime contest and the young Grizzlies squad made a statement to the rest of the Western Conference that they are no pushovers by any means.

This underdog momentum is nothing but bad news for the West top seed Utah Jazz, who finished the season with the league’s best record and clinched home court advantage for the rest of the playoffs.

Although they still have two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and Sixth Man of the Year favorite Jordan Clarkson, they clinched that record in the first place with the leadership of All-Star Donovan Mitchell, who as of posting is still out injured.

Without Mitchell, the Jazz are missing a 26.4 points per game scorer, who simply cannot be replaced outright by the likes of Clarkson and Joe Ingles, who is also a Sixth Man of the Year finalist.

On the other end, the Grizzlies are finally fully healthy at the best time possible as Jaren Jackson Jr. continues his grind back up the pecking order after a lengthy recovery from a left knee meniscus tear.

Morant, meanwhile, is expected to go full steam ahead in his matchup against All-Star veteran Mike Conley, the Grizzlies’ former franchise guard now facing his old team.

As Mitchell works his way back from injury, the Jazz will have to weather the storm for now and hope that they have enough firepower to keep the hungry Grizzlies at bay.

In a series of two workhorse teams, only one can emerge victorious and move on to the second round. Will the banged-up Jazz still prove why they hold the league’s best record or will the Grizzlies start a new Western Conference Cinderella run?

Game time is 9:30 am on Monday, May 24, Philippine time.

– Rappler.com