The Memphis Grizzlies were frustrated, having dropped three
straight after opening the season with a franchise-best mark.
They also were tired of coming up empty in Salt Lake City, where
they hadn’t walked away winners since 2007.
That all changed Saturday night when they overcame a miserable
first half to cruise to a 99-86 victory over the Utah Jazz.
”It’s been a long time,” said Zach Randolph, who scored 25
points and grabbed 16 rebounds to fuel Memphis. ”It’s always hard
to win here.”
At halftime the Jazz appeared headed toward another victory in
front of their fans.
But the Grizzlies outscored Utah 28-10 in the third quarter to
turn a 10-point halftime deficit into a 72-64 lead entering the
fourth. The Jazz shot just 15 percent (3 of 20) in the quarter
after shooting 56.4 percent at halftime.
Stopping Utah center Al Jefferson was a key.
”They put Zach on me and had a guy sitting in my lap the whole
time,” Jefferson said. ”It’s kind of difficult for an offensive
player to operate. We got to move better and I’ve got to do a
better job of passing the ball outside. They’re a good defensive
team. They had a good game plan.”
Utah’s 10 points in the third were the fewest since the Jazz
scored six in the fourth against the Lakers on Dec. 9, 2009.
After shooting 7 of 12 for 14 points in the first half,
Jefferson went 1 of 5 the rest of the way and finished with 21
points – the rest too little too late.
”We went out there and turned it up,” said Randolph, who was 3
of 3 for eight points, with six rebounds in the third quarter.
Marc Gasol led the team with nine points in the third and also
grabbed six rebounds in the quarter. He finished with 16 points,
eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Even if Jefferson mistakenly referred to Gasol as Pau, the
credit was the same as he called both Randolph and Gasol
”They got some tough plays down low,” said Jazz forward Paul
Millsap, who added 12 points and four rebounds.
”Z-Bo (Randolph) he never stops, he never gives up. So he’s
going to go out there every time. They’re a physical team. They get
down and dirty. … They pushed us out past the 3-point line and we
couldn’t get into our sets, couldn’t really run anything. You
struggle against a really good team, you’re going to pay for
The Jazz got within four points on a 3-pointer by DeMarre
Carroll, a former Grizzlies draft pick, with 10:30 remaining. But
Randolph remained hot, scoring eight straight in a 4-minute span as
Memphis surged ahead 86-75 with 5:45 left.
Memphis held a 48-35 advantage on the boards, including an 18-7
edge on the offensive end. Jefferson was held without an offensive
The Grizzlies also forced the Jazz into 15 turnovers and held a
50-38 advantage on points in the paint.
”A lot of times the ball just bounced right at them but other
times they outworked us,” Jefferson said.
The win halted a three-game losing streak for Memphis, and
dropped Utah to 9-2 at home.
”This has got to be the motivator,” Jefferson said of Utah’s
first loss in 10 games at home against Memphis. ”I think we got
too comfortable at home. This proves we can lose at home. But it
shows you can win on the road.”
That’s where the Jazz are headed, for a four-game road trip
starting in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
The Grizzlies, who halted a three-game losing streak, have three
straight at home.
”We had to get back to what we do, and that’s defensive
pressure,” guard Mike Conley said. ”It was frustrating. It was
hard to look at us play so well and the last week play so bad. For
us to come here and get a win in a very tough atmosphere says a lot
about us handling adversity. This is a huge win for us.”
It started with an 11-3 run to open the third, Rudy Gay’s
three-point play and Randolph’s short jumper getting Memphis within
57-55 with 8:04 left.
After Marvin Williams’ dunk off a Randy Foye alley-oop pass
bumped Utah’s lead back to six, the Grizzlies scored 10 straight
behind Gasol and Tony Allen.
It was a sharp contrast to the first half when the Jazz led by
as many as 12 points thanks to their big men. Jefferson scored 10
straight for Utah during a 3-minute stretch in the first quarter,
and replacement Enes Kanter started 4 of 4 and had 10 points in
eight minutes and 10 by halftime.
Then it all changed for a Jazz team coming off a 15-road loss to
Phoenix after seemingly finding itself in back-to-back wins over
the Lakers and Spurs.
”It (hurts),” Millsap said. ”We’re not sound. That’s how we
have to look at it. It’s one we wish we could have back.”
Especially the third quarter.
”We rushed some shots,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. ”We
didn’t have the same energy we had in the first half.”
NOTES: Memphis F Darrell Arthur is to be evaluated when the
Grizzlies return home after suffering a mild concussion Friday
against Denver. He did not play Saturday. … Memphis has forced at
least 10 turnovers in 125 consecutive games. … The Jazz held a
moment of silence before the game for victims of the Connecticut
elementary school tragedy. After the first quarter, they also
organized an emotional reunion for a military mom, Jeanne Izatt,
who hadn’t seen sons Connor and Chance since April. … Jazz G
Jamaal Tinsley was drafted by the Grizzlies in 2001 (No. 27
overall) only to be traded draft night to Indiana. He returned to
play the 2008-09 season in Memphis. …. Jazz G Hayward was happy
to see his college team, Butler, knock off top-ranked Indiana
earlier Saturday but was just 3 of 8 for the Jazz. … Utah
outscored the Grizzlies 15-2 on the fast break in the first