Marc Gasol scores 22 points, Grizzlies beat Jazz 102-96
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Even as the Memphis Grizzlies transition under first-year coach David Fizdale, the old guard of Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph is still leading the way.
Gasol scored a season-high 22 points and the Grizzlies beat the Utah Jazz 102-96 on Monday night.
''I feel like this is the best four quarters we've put together,'' Fizdale said. ''Guys, they want to win. They really want this and we've worked really hard over the past couple days to clean things up.''
The Grizzlies used a 9-2 run sparked by Mike Conley's step-back 3-pointer and a three-point play by Gasol to take a 94-88 lead with 1:25 remaining. Memphis led by as many as 13, but the Jazz kept answering with big plays from Joe Ingles and Trey Lyles.
''I always try to lead my team,'' Gasol said. ''I'm trying be more vocal with the guys and keep us stable.
''By my play, I always try to find the right play, the right open guy.''
Conley had 18 points and seven assists, and Randolph added 18 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Ingles scored a career-high 20 points and Lyles chipped in 18.
The Grizzlies led 56-48 at halftime behind a 56.8 shooting percentage, their best in any half this season. They also contained Utah's best players – Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert – to 13 combined points on 4-of-12 shooting in the first 24 minutes.
''(The defense) was porous in the first quarter, to say the least,'' Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ''That was the nuts and bolts of the game – there were times we got a stop and couldn't secure the ball. … I didn't think we were as physical as we needed to be to close possessions.''
Grizzlies: Gasol has extended his range. After making 12 3-pointers over his first eight seasons combined, he made two Monday to bring his season total to 12. … Vince Carter scored 20 points off the bench. … Memphis outrebounded the Jazz 44-29.
Jazz: Rodney Hood (illness) and George Hill (thumb) did not play. It was Hill's fifth consecutive game out. … Boris Diaw returned from a right leg contusion after missing eight games. … Favors left the game in the fourth quarter with left knee soreness and did not return.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Jazz returned home after a five-game road trip on which they went 4-1. Snyder was asked if he was sure he wanted to return to Salt Lake City?
''You always want to be at home,'' Snyder said. ''The whole thing about any game, and particularly a longer road trip, is hopefully you can get better. In our case, that means getting healthy. Try to learn how to win when you're not at full strength, which has unfortunately been a theme for us so far this year.
''I think guys support each other and sometimes that's the most important thing for guys that are thrust into roles that aren't as permanent and they're able to get confidence and confidence is a big thing. Coach can try to give it to you. You can find it on your own and teammates can help you locate it. I think that's one of the things we've got going.''
The Grizzlies made a coaching change after last season despite making the playoffs for six consecutive seasons. Fizdale said they have to be patient while adapting to a new culture and new roles. However, the days of Grit and Grind from coach Dave Joerger's era aren't all the way over.
''I don't want to subtract from any of that,'' Fizdale said. ''I still want it to be gritty. I just don't want our offense to be in a grind. I want to be able to get the ball up the court and score more points. Our field goal attempts are where they need to be, we just aren't shooting the ball great. … A lot of that is chemistry and sometimes the shots just don't fall.''
''We rely on our older guys for leadership,'' Conley said. ''We have guys that have played 15-plus years in the league and have done everything. We use that to our advantage but we don't want to use them too much. … So hopefully we can get more out of young guys and let the old guys rest a bit as we go along.''
Grizzlies: Memphis travels to face the Clippers on Wednesday night in the third game of a four-game trip. The Clippers began Monday with the best record in the Western Conference at 9-1.
Jazz: Utah hosts the Bulls on Thursday night, facing Dwyane Wade in Chicago for the first time.