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Utah Jazz: 3 Keys to Bouncing Back Against Memphis

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The buzzer beater loss against the Golden State Warriors in their home opener is still fresh in the minds of Utah Jazz fans. Donovan Mitchell came inches away from putting the Jazz up by four points towards the end of the fourth quarter, but the ball went anywhere but in the hoop.

Former Jazz center Jonas Jerebko then tipped in the winning shot as time expired off an initial miss from Kevin Durant.

Unreal.

Heading into the season, the Jazz were a dark horse top team in the Western Conference. However, after their performance against the Warriors on Oct. 19, it seems crazy to think that they won’t be one of the top two seeds at the end of the season.

While the first loss of the season was a heart breaker, they must move on and not let the sting linger. Their next home match up comes tonight as they host the Memphis Grizzlies.

Here are three keys to the Jazz improving to 2-1 on the season.

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

1. Donovan Mitchell needs to stop depending on triples

Don’t let the headline make you mad before hearing my take on this — I think we’ll end up on the same page.

While Mitchell is definitely the top scorer for the Jazz, he’s facing a much tougher time overall in his second season because other teams now have a priority of shutting him down as much as possible.

Let’s take into account his last shot in the game against Golden State.

I get the heroic moment kind of took over, and given the adrenaline running from that game, it’s hard to blame him for trying to save the day. Utah and Golden State will be going toe-to-toe in the Western Conference this year, as the Jazz were really the only team to truly own the Warriors last season.

But that doesn’t give Mitchell a complete pass for trying to do things that he still needs time to get better at.

Again, don’t hear what I’m not saying. He has the ability to be clutch when it matters most for his team, and to carry a the load of being a leader in his game already. However, the Jazz have to be better at making the smart play in those situations, and getting a closer bucket or finding another open man would’ve been the smarter way to try and end the game.

Mitchell blew up last season by being explosive, getting to the basket, and giving his team the spark they needed to win big games. The three point daggers to close out opponents will get there, but he shouldn’t have to ride or die on those moments at all.

He’s better than that.

Photo Courtesy Of Getty Images

2. Let Joe Ingles be the deep threat for the time being

Speaking of deep threats, the Jazz have a sharpshooter that can absolutely alleviate some of the stress and pressure on Donovan Mitchell.

Joe Ingles isn’t the ideal savior, you would think. Against the two-time defending champs, however, Ingles went off for a career-high 27 points, shooting 7-11 from downtown. He also went off in the first game of the season against Sacramento, putting in 22 points for the win number one on the road.

Overall, Ingles is shooting 65% from deep. While it’s just a few games in, being 11-17 overall from that range is lethal, especially when the Grizzlies are one of the teams that’ll more than likely have a hard time keeping up.

His seven three-pointers against the Warriors was nearly as many (10) as the Pacers had as an entire team when they blew out Memphis in their season opener by 28. It’s time for the Jazz to put on a clinic against a team that they have no reason not to take care of handily.

Photo Courtesy Of USA TODAY IMAGES

3. Crash the boards like it’s nobody’s business

Ultimately, the Utah Jazz need to make sure that they clean the glass as much as they possibly can against Memphis. The Grizzlies were out-rebounded by Indiana 67-39 and were subsequently blown out. When they edged Atlanta by three rebounds, they were able to get the victory.

Rebounding obviously isn’t the only thing to think about when trying to break down the best ways to win, but this is an obvious one. The Grizzlies are not one of the better teams in the conference, and that is no secret. Utah needs to get a win in their second home game of the season to avoid some early season panic that is totally avoidable.

Rudy Gobert averages 13 rebounds per game, to the lead the team in that statistic, but he can’t be the only one trying to get second chance opportunities. It’s worth noting that Derrick Favors averages seven boards per game, with Jae Crowder right behind him with an average of six.

Game changers need to start stepping up for the Jazz in ways other than scoring. Thus far, there shouldn’t be a problem with the main scorers being Mitchell and Ingles. So, if they can figure these things out, they’ll be well on their way to fixing their workflow and jumping to 2-1 on the season.

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About Keith Rivas

Keith is based In Salt Lake City and covers the Jazz for TLSM. Follow him on Twitter @mrkeithrivas for all things Utah Jazz.

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