SALT LAKE CITY — Obviously it’s a small sample size, as coach Quin Snyder likes to say, but the Utah Jazz defense has been one of the NBA’s worst through two games of the season.
After a win over Sacramento and a loss to Golden State, the Jazz rank dead last in the NBA in field goal percentage defense at 53.8 percent and second-to-last in 3-point field goal percentage defense at 44.7 percent. In points allowed, the Jazz rank low, tied for 22nd in giving up 120.5 points per game.
That’s something the Jazz want to change Monday night when they host the Memphis Grizzlies in a 7 p.m. game at Vivint Arena.
The NBA’s reigning defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert, for one, is looking for an improved defensive performance Monday night.
“I’d like us to have a great defensive game,” he said. “The first two games the other teams scored more than 100 points, so tonight would be a good night to beat a team defensively.”Comment on this story
Gobert always looks forward to his matchup with Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who he’s battled in international competition for years. Gasol has been battling back soreness and may not play, although he did play Friday night against Atlanta when he was listed as questionable before the game.
“He’s a very smart player, very skilled,” Gobert said of Gasol. “You just have to be aware and try to make him hit the toughest shot possible.”
After Monday’s game, the Jazz hit the road for a four-game road trip over an eight-day period, starting with Houston on Wednesday. The Rockets will be without Chris Paul, who was suspended for two games because of his involvement in a fight during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night.