The Memphis Grizzlies had lost 3 games in a row for the first time this season to fall to 14-6 and into the fourth seed in the West. The Grizzlies came into their game Saturday night in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz needing a win in a building they hadn’t won in almost 6 years. It was also the last of three road games against the NBA’s three Mountain Time Zone teams. Wednesday night, Memphis lost at the Phoenix Suns 82-80, and last night at the Denver Nuggets 99-94. Back to back games in the high altitude of Denver and Salt Lake City isn’t the ideal place to try and snap a losing streak. However, that is exactly what the Grizzlies did with an impressive 99-86 win against the now 13-12 Utah Jazz. It was only the second home loss for the Jazz this season.
The first quarter was pretty much even as neither team led by as more than 3 points. Utah took a 21-19 lead at the end of the period. Utah went on a 12-4 run to open the second quarter to expand their lead to 9 points. They would lead by as many as 12 points in the quarter. The Jazz would end up shooting 56.4% from the field in the first half as they took a 54-44 halftime lead.
However, in the third quarter Utah’s shooting went colder than the chilly December Salt Lake City air. The Jazz would make only 3 of 20 field goals in the third quarter as they scored only 10 points. The Grizzlies opened the quarter on an 11 -5 run to pull within 4 points. The Grizzlies would take the lead for good on a 22 foot shot from guard Tony Allen that made it 63-61 with 4:22 left in the third. With 28 points in the quarter, Memphis turned a 10 point deficit into an 8 point advantage (72-64) going in the final period.
Utah would pull within four points with just over 10 minutes left in the quarter, but Memphis would make sure they would get no closer. The Grizzlies maintained a lead of between 7 and 9 points for most of the fourth quarter. They would lead by as many as 15 and would hold on for the 13 point win.
The Grizzlies improved to 15-6 and remain 2 games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Division. The Jazz have lost two straight games and are 7 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Northwest Division.
Memphis shot 44.7% from the field including 4 of 11 three pointers. The Grizzlies made 19 of 24 free throws. Memphis had 48 rebounds including 18 offensive, 16 assists, 9 steals, 4 blocks, and 12 turnovers. The Grizzlies had 13 fast break points and 50 points in the paint.
Forward Zach Randolph had a monster game with 25 points, 16 rebounds, 3 steals, an assist, and a block. Center Marc Gasol had 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Forward Rudy Gay had 14 points, 2 steals, a rebound and an assist. Point guard Mike Conley, Jr. had 12 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal. Forward Marresse Speights added 8 points and 4 rebounds off the bench. Center Hamed Haddadi had 8 rebounds off the bench. Forward Darrell Arthur missed the game with a mild concussion.
Utah shot 41.9% from the field including 5 of 17 on three pointers. The Jazz made 19 of 24 free throws. Utah had 35 rebounds, 20 assists, 7 steals, 4 blocks, and 15 turnovers. The Jazz had 20 fast break points and 38 points in the paint.
Center Al Jefferson had 21 points, 8 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. Forward Paul Millsap scored 12 points and added 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Guard Gordon Hayward scored 11 points and had 5 assists and 2 rebounds off the bench. Center Enes Kanter scored 10 off the bench and had 2 rebounds and a steal. Point guard Mo Williams had 7 points and 7 assists.
Next up for the Grizzlies is a three game home stand starting Monday against the Chicago Bulls. The Grizzlies will also host the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks this week. The Grizzlies won tonight because of their defense, especially in the second half. They will have to keep it up next week.