This week’s games:
- Wednesday, April 8 – Sacramento Kings. Energy Solutions Arena. 7:00 PM MT
- Friday, April 10 – Memphis Grizzlies. Energy Solutions Arena. 7:00 PM MT
- Saturday, April 11 – Portland Trail Blazers. Moda Center. 8:00 PM MT.
Game of the Week: Utah Jazz vs Memphis Grizzlies
While Sacramento’s attempts at a revenge game in Salt Lake City and a road game against Dame and the Blazers are both intriguing options, I have to give the game of the week to the Grizzlies. Utah and Memphis have faced off three times this season, with the road team winning each contest. So will the streak hold true when Marc Gasol and company come to town, or will the Jazz be able to stay hot and stick to their winning ways? A Friday night game against a playoff team is sure to have Energy Solutions Arena rockin’, and that is exactly why this is this week’s game to watch!
Player Focus: Rodney Hood
April just might be Rodney Hood’s month. In the two games that he’s played in, he’s averaging 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 2 assists – not bad, rook! Having been inserted into the starting lineup, Jazz fans should be noticing just how much Hood is being looked to as a go-to guy on the court. In Sunday’s win at Sacramento, Rodney led the Jazz in field goal attempts and points. He took seventeen shots – six more than the next closest Jazz player. I’ll be watching to see if Rodney can continue to put up solid numbers and give Coach Q quality minutes as the season winds down. Jazz fans missed out on watching Hood play for much of the season, but these last few games are his opportunity to show just how bright his future is.
Kings: The Jazz just got a good look at the Kings, and despite resting key players throughout the fourth quarter, they were able to leave California with the win. Wednesday night’s game should be much of the same, and with the Kings playing against Minnesota late on Tuesday night, the Jazz should be able to get the victory pretty easily over the Kings – of course, these always seem to be the games to worry about… – Jazz win, 95-89.
Grizzlies: Memphis is only one game behind the Rockets for the second place spot in the West, so they’ll definitely want this win – perhaps even more than the Jazz do. That, right there, could be the difference in the game. Good news for the Jazz is that the Grizzlies have lost three of their last five games. If Memphis stumbles on the road, you can be sure the Jazz will want to capitalize on their mistakes. Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors will be challenged, as Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combine for an average of almost 34 points and over 18 rebounds per game. Keep an eye on Jeff Green, he’s been averaging over 16 points over the last ten games. – Jazz lose, 105-102 (OT).
Trail Blazers: Portland is in the same situation as Memphis – desperate to finish the season strong, but stumbling at times. The Blazers have won six or their last eight, but dropped five in a row before that. So what version of the Trail Blazers will take the court on Saturday night? I expect it will be a team that knows they need to win, and with this being their last home game of the season, I think they find a way to get it done. – Jazz lose, 102-95.
April 7, 1989
John Stockton won his second straight NBA assist title, dishing a total of 1,118 assists, becoming the first NBA player to record consecutive seasons of over 1,000 assists. Stockton stretched that 1,000 assist streak to a total of five seasons, 1988 through 1992.
April 7, 1998
Karl Malone scored an NBA season-high 56 points in a 101-99 win at Golden State.