Grizzlies look to go 3-0 vs. Jazz
The Grizzlies made a statement that they need to be taken seriously this season with 92-84 and 110-100 wins at Utah in the first three weeks of the season.
The Jazz had swept last year's season series 3-0 from a Grizzlies team that went on to lose 60 games.
But this year's Grizzlies edition is scripting a different story and will find itself taking the court Monday night in the wake of heart-stopping home wins over Denver and Philadelphia.
Grizzlies coaches and players were gushing after Saturday's 112-106 victory over the 76ers about the play of Mike Conley, who missed most of last season, including all three games against Utah, with an Achilles injury.
If there were any concerns about the star point guard's health, they were put to rest in a 42-minute performance during which he scored 32 points.
"He's been working his tail off," Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Conley, who has played at least 25 minutes in all 11 games this season. "He understands how vital he is to us, the load that he has to bear. He's been getting in extra work."
Conley also contributed a last-minute hoop to Wednesday's 89-87 win over Denver, and has totaled 51 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and four steals in the two victories over Utah.
The Jazz swept a pair of games at Memphis against the Conley-less Grizzlies late last season and began this year with four straight road wins before dropping their last two.
Like Memphis, they are coming off arguably their best win of the year, an emotional 123-115 victory over Boston on Friday night in Gordon Hayward's first return since leaving as a free agent.
Some teams would suffer a letdown after such a win, but the two earlier home shockers against the Grizzlies have captured his team's full attention, Jazz coach Quin Snyder told reporters Saturday.
"Having (played) them earlier in the year, I think it's an opportunity for us to get better. I think we will," Snyder proclaimed. "Those are experiences, as a team, that can help hone you and focus you."
The Jazz have won two in a row, but now embark on a stretch in which they will play 10 of 12 on the road.
A rematch with Boston looms as part of a five-game trip that tips off in Memphis.
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, will be wrapping up a three-game homestand. They haven't lost at home this season (5-0).
Memphis used different means in recording its sweep at Utah.
Memphis then got its offensive rolling behind Conley's 28 points in the rematch, shooting 50.7 percent from the field. Fellow starters Marc Gasol, Garrett Temple and Jaren Jackson Jr. complemented Conley with a total of 42 points on 17-for-31 shooting.