The Utah Jazz attacked inside and out to take the first of their back-to-back-to-back road set in Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies, donning their mismatched throwback Memphis Tams uniform, looked a bit mismatched on offense as well. Despite decent contributions from each of their top scorers, Memphis shot just 44 percent as a team and turned the ball over 18 times. Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley combined for 56 points, far surpassing the 32 cobbled together by the other seven Grizzlies. Memphis, after falling behind early, made one run after another -- often spurred by a fine defensive play from Tony Allen -- but, save for a momentary breakthrough in the third quarter, repeatedly fell short of a comeback.
The Grizzlies' chief adversary in that regard was Gordon Hayward, Utah's blushing assassin of a swingman. Hayward involved himself in nearly everything the Jazz did -- forcing several turnovers, making savvy feeds for easy baskets, and leading the team with with 23 points garnered inside and out. In the first half, when Hayward didn't finish, the Jazz turned to Al Jefferson's offbeat plodding for points. Jefferson notched 21, including a number of second opportunity scores that helped to keep Memphis out of transition. Later on, Derrick Favors contributed the inside scoring in a different fashion, plunging three alley-oop feeds from C.J. Miles and Earl Watson to stifle Memphis momentum (momemtum).
Memphis did plenty to trip up their own momentum, falling victim to several unforced turnovers at inopportune moments of the fourth quarter. Bad passes and mis-dribbles nipped several comeback bids before they were consummated. They cut the deficit to just one early in the period, then back to four later on, but squandered their most crucial possessions, eventually falling out entirely when Raja Bell drained a three to put Utah up nine with less than three minutes remaining.
The final result was a broken streak for both teams. Memphis had won two straight, but fell to 2-2 heading into the last of a five-game homestand Tuesday night. Utah, prior to taking the first of their back-to-back-to-back, had lost three straight, including two by double digits. They'll be in New Orleans Monday night for the middle game of the set.