This was a game that was a tale of two halves. In the first quarter Trey Burke was all the offense for the Utah Jazz, and in the second the Memphis Grizzlies pounded their way to a 18 point lead. In the third quarter the Jazz picked up the pace and went on a huge run to bring it down to a 3 point least at one point -- thanks in a large part of the play of Gordon Hayward, Trey Burke, and Richard Jefferson. (He had a huge jam in the 3rd quarter) Of course, the Jazz never led, but it was a really good quarter where the team made things easy by getting the rebound, and picking up the pace on the other end.
It's hilarious because this is what many of us wanted all season long -- yet the Jazz (while starting a small ball lineup for most of the season) played one of the slowest paces in the league.
But hey, that's just me being negative or whatever.
Derrick Favors picked up his fourth foul and then it was a new game again in the fourth quarter. He then picked up his fifth with 10:20 left in the forth and thought the game was done. I was wrong.
The Jazz scraped, clawed, and hustled their way back to TIE the game at the 5:37 make of the fourth on a great Hayward floor burn special and kick out to Alec Burks for the layup. These were the guys fans were sold on watching this year, and this is the style of play we expected. Memphis took a time out after the Jazz tied it up, and they promptly got their grit and grind on and shut us down and went on a 6-0 run that prompted Tyrone Corbin to take a retaliatory time out. After the time out the Jazz scored, but then didn't score again in the entire game. And you can't win the game if you don't reliably score for five straight minutes, during the last five minutes of a game.
The final score was 96-86, and honestly, that score isn't indicative of how close or how far these two teams actually are.
Memphis just locked us up, and the actually good team won the game. And yeah, this is the third game in four nights for the Jazz on the road too. Plus, uh, there was a boogey man, or boogey men, in the hotel last night.
- Trey Burke had himself a game against one of the best defenses in the league. Burke would finish with 16 points (3/4 from downtown, perfect from the line), 6 assists, and 2 rebounds. If it wasn't for his work in the first quarter this team would have lost by 30.
- While the Jazz didn't score on each of their breaks, they did counter attack a lot and put the pressure on the defense. It was nice to see, and the young guys seem to be more than capable of running the floor regularly. Perhaps we'll see this next year more frequently? Our wing guys had good scoring games -- Gordon with 16, Alec with 16, and RJ with 9. Run. The. Floor.
- Woo! Enes Kanter had a 12-12 game and was doing it by running the floor, spotting up, and posting up.
- We really have nothing in the line of a consistent defensive scheme. And talented bigs with legit size really hurt us -- we've seen this the last few seasons whenever we play teams with two good bigs. Tonight was no different as Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph ate their lunch in our paint with little opposition.
- Bench scoring aka two guys -- until the 8:17 mark of the 4th quarter. Not a good look, unless you're the Miami Heat or something. Burks had 16 points (crazy layups and 2/5 from downtown) and 4 assists, Marvin had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block . . . and Diante Garrett went 1/6 and scored 2 points. That's not enough from the bench.
- Memphis is a great defensive club. And it showed tonight. The Jazz were shooting 40% and brought that up in the fourth quarter to 44% for the game, but at the expense of nearly doubling their total game turn overs. Memphis just put the clamps on us.
Overall it was a much better game than we've seen in the last little while. The team tried, the coaches tried, and the cumulative effort was palpable. We're not perfect yet, but we didn't look like a train wreck. Baby steps. The Jazz are off tomorrow, and return to Utah to host the Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, and these very Memphis Grizzlies again.