COMMENTARY | The Utah Jazz tend to struggle when they aren't in the 84111.
While they score 96.4 points per game, they give up 101.4. Consequently, the Jazz possess a 13-27 road record this year.
But with the playoffs on the line, it's safe to say the Jazz will put those numbers behind them and show up at FedExForum Wednesday night hungry for a W.
"I love my chances," said Jazz center Al Jefferson. "I think we're playing well right now, playing well enough to win on the road. Memphis is a good team, but I love my chances going in. We've just got to take care of our business and everything else will work itself out."
Here's why I love Utah's chances: Memphis coach Lionel Hollins will probably limit the minutes for some of his starters.
Pau Gasol, brother of Grizzlies center Marc, recently confirmed this theory (via Los Angeles Times): "I told [Marc] to please go out there and compete and try to win the game," Pau said. "He said, 'We'll see,' because (Monday) night they played the starters 24 minutes (in a win at Dallas). They probably play the same the next game."
The Jazz-Grizz game isn't as important for Memphis as it is for Utah, but Tennessee's team does have something to play for. A win, coupled with a Los Angeles Clippers loss to the Sacramento Kings, would secure home-court advantage against Lob City in the first round of the playoffs.
If the Jazz win -- and the Los Angeles Lakers lose to the Houston Rockets -- Utah would clinch a 2013 playoff berth.
Fortunately for the Jazz, James Harden & Co. have a good reason to compete. If they fail to beat the Lakers, they would slip to the No. 8 spot, where they'd be slotted to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the opening round.
"Every game means so much," said Rockets guard Jeremy Lin. "We are talking about playoff seeding. We are talking about matchups and things that are more important than anything we played for all season."
Jared Bray, a graduate of Brigham Young University's broadcast journalism program, has followed the Utah Jazz since 2008, when he covered the team as a sports correspondent for KBYU-TV's Daily News at Noon.
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