After upsetting the Spurs as the eighth seed in last year’s playoffs, Memphis (34-24) lost to San Antonio for the fourth time this season on Thursday, 107-97.
They’ll have to prove it by not letting the Jazz sweep them as well.
The Grizzlies have won six straight at the FedEx Forum, but lost twice already to Utah this season.
After Saturday, only one of Memphis’ remaining games is against a team with a winning record (Dwight-less Orlando) as the Grizzlies trail the L.A. Clippers (36-23) by one-and-a-half games in the race for home court advantage in the first round.
For Utah, the situation is much more dire.
Paul Millsap played through a wrist injury suffered Wednesday against Houston, but his 27 points and 8 boards weren’t enough for the depleted Jazz in their 96-85 loss to New Orleans on Friday – Utah’s second to the 17-42 Hornets this season.
Millsap said after the game, “This is a game we needed…it’s a game we’re supposed to win, we just didn’t get it.”
The loss puts the Jazz (31-29) a game and a half behind eighth-seeded Denver with only six games to play catch up.
It will be a different game down low, with bruiser Zach Randolph playing for the first time in the series after missing 37 games with a torn ACL.
For Utah to make the playoffs, Gordon Hayward and Devin Harris must play better. The backcourt duo combined to score only 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting against the Hornets.
Grizzlies’ guard Tony Allen is expected to make his return Saturday against the Jazz.