The Utah Jazz, the team with the best record in the NBA, opened as 8-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds for Wednesday's one-game road trip to Memphis, but that spread is down to -4.5 with the news that Jazz All-Star guard and leading scorer Donovan Mitchell will not play for personal reasons. Memphis will be without Justise Winslow and is listing Grayson Allen as questionable. Solid contributors, but they don't move the spread.
Might Mitchell's absence have anything to do with the Jazz's original team charter plane from Salt Lake City to Memphis on Tuesday afternoon having to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff? The plane struck a flock of birds, which caused an engine fire and failure. Mitchell posted a praying hands emoji on Twitter. The team left again for Memphis on Tuesday evening with no problems, but Mitchell was not on that flight.
Mitchell leads the Jazz in averaging 25.7 points and 5.5 assists and is fourth in rebounding at 4.5 per game. He is one of just seven NBA players averaging at least 25.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds. Over his past 10 games, Mitchell had been even better in averaging 29.2 points on 50 percent shooting overall and 46.3 percent from deep. So, it's a big break for the Grizzlies. Expect Joe Ingles to start in his place.
Utah hosted Memphis in back-to-back games last weekend and won both – one close. Mitchell scored 35 points in each. The Jazz have won the past five in the series overall but are 2-5 against the spread in their past seven road games this season.
The Grizzlies' Winslow will miss his second in a row with a sore right thigh. In 16 games off the bench this season, the former Heat lottery pick is averaging 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds. Allen is questionable with hip soreness and lasted just seven minutes in Monday's 120-110 win in Houston. Allen, a former Duke star like Winslow, is averaging 9.8 points in 32 games, starting 20 of them. Allen used to play for the Jazz but was acquired in the Mike Conley trade.
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