Jazz 98, Grizzlies 88
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)
Utah was 12 of 19 from the field and caused six Memphis turnovers in the final period to pull away for a 98-88 victory Sunday night.
''When we make some stops on the defensive end, we're able to push it a little bit more and get into our offense, instead of just walking the ball up the court and being stagnant,'' said Gordon Hayward, who had a season-high 23 points to lead the Jazz. ''That's really where we turned it around.''
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said Jefferson played in control and made the right decisions - shooting if he was one-on-one and passing to the open man if he was double-teamed. That led to four assists from the Jazz center.
''He did a great job of sticking within what we do,'' Corbin said. ''We always put the ball in his hands to make plays, and I thought he made some great passes.''
Hayward shot 8 of 12 from the field, part of a 51 percent shooting performance by the Jazz. Starters Hayward, Millsap, Jefferson, Bell and Devin Harris ended the night hitting 33 of their 56 shots.
Utah was able to pull away in the fourth quarter by not only forcing Memphis into turnovers, but getting to the rim on offense. On three occasions out of the half court set, Derrick Favors was able to score on alley-oop dunks.
That and Hayward's outside shooting helped Utah rebuild its lead to 96-84 when Jefferson converted a 3-point play with 2:18 left. At that point, Memphis had no answer.
Memphis had trailed 81-76 with just under 7 minutes left, but the Grizzlies missed two free throws and mishandled a fastbreak opportunity to give Utah momentum.
''From there, the dam broke, the flood started, and that's what happened in the fourth quarter,'' Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ''To put it bluntly, we didn't guard and execute offensively.''
Utah built an early lead and carried a 46-40 advantage into intermission.
Memphis got off to a terrible start, missing its first eight shots, and was still shooting 2 of 11 as Utah built an early double-digit lead, eventually reaching 13 points.
Memphis would score the last eight points of the opening quarter to get back in the game.
But the misfiring continued for Memphis in the half as the Grizzlies shot 35 percent for the first two quarters.
The Jazz seemed to be in much better control, and their 45 percent shooting was accurate compared to Memphis.
''People were aggressive, like controlled aggressive,'' Bell said. ''We were moving the ball, and there were times when people were getting double-teamed, and the ball swung around the perimeter and we found an open look.''
Hayward and Jefferson had 14 each to lead the Jazz in the first half, while Gasol scored 10 for Memphis before halftime.
Memphis took its first lead on a 3-point play by Conley with about 5 minutes left in the third. But it was Gay who sparked the rally with 10 early points in the period.
As the game got closer, Memphis was having trouble with turnovers. Utah was getting on the glass, and Bell, who was scoreless in the first half, began connecting on his jumper.
Utah scored six unanswered points late in the period and carried a 69-66 lead into the final period.
''We should be finishing these games like we're supposed to: closeouts, anything. We didn't have any of that finish,'' Gay said of the Grizzlies' problems down the stretch. ''It's a lot of things. Basically effort and going out there with a certain amount of will.''
Notes: Memphis wore gold and green throwback jerseys representing the old Memphis Tams of the American Basketball Association. The color scheme was because the Tams were owned by Charlie Finley of the Oakland A's. Tams stood for Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi - the three states that comprise the area around Memphis. ... Memphis G Tony Allen returned to the starting lineup. Allen missed three games with a sore left hip and knee, and came off the bench when he returned Friday against Indiana. ... The Jazz are 6-0 when they score better than 50 percent and 8-1 when holding opponents to less than 90 points.