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Utah Jazz Remain Undefeated On The Year, Go Old Ephraim On The Grizzlies, 98-92

[Note by Basketball John, 01/02/11 12:27 AM MST ] Consider this a box score recap.  I was traveling today and got in just in time to see the fourth and I'm just getting to a computer now.  So feel free to correct any assumptions I make and fill in what I've left out that you thought made the game.

The Grizzlies were coming off one of the truly gut-punching losses of the season.  OJ Mayo made a difficult shot with just a few tics over a second left against the Sacramento Kings to give them what normally would have been a road victory.


The brief time that was left on the clock was all that was needed by Tyreke Evans to catch and heave from half-court at the buzzer to give the Kings the win instead.  It's one thing to lose a game on a buzzer-beater.  It's an entirely different thing to lose it on a Hail Mary after having made what should have been the game-winner just moments before.

That was on Wednesday, plenty of time for the Grizzlies to stew on it.  They should have been easy to kick while they were down.  After all, they were without Rudy Gay and the Jazz were at home.

It was more of the same though in the first quarter as the Jazz got down early, 14-6.  Looking at the shot chart from the first quarter, Memphis was getting nearly entirely in the paint while the Jazz were content to shoot jumpers.

The Jazz had a chance to potentially put this game out of reach early in the third after a Millsap dunk.  The Grizzlies though kept coming back.  After Millsap's huge block on one end and dunk on the other, it looked like they had the momentum going their way again.  Marc Gasol's three though got them back to within seven.  Thanks in part to some Zach Randolph beasting and a couple of three-pointers and the double-digit lead was just two after three.

It was a free-throw battle through a lot of the fourth keeping things tight.  Deron's only three-pointer of the night gave the Jazz some breathing room at 91-86 with just over 3 minutes to play.

The game wasn't over though until Deron penetrated and found a cutting Hayward coming in from the right-side three-point line for the flush.  That ended up being the final score, 98-92.

More thoughts after the jump...

  • Had the Jazz made their season average in free-throws, they would have had 6 more points on the night and perhaps this one doesn't get uncomfortably close down the stretch.  Big Al missed 5 of his 10 attempts.  Maybe he's just reverting to his career average after starting hot?  Earl missed three (1-4) as well as Deron (8-11).  Thirteen points overall in missed free-throws.
  • Deron with 19 and just 5 but the team had 27 assists on the night.  Six of those came from Earl Watson.  Good sharing tonight.
  • So, was G-Time taking AK's minutes because he was playing better or because AK still had some pain?  Some of both?  AK was the only one on the bench that I could see that wasn't jumping out of his seat for Hayward's dunks.
  • Speaking of Flash, here are his stats the last three games

    Memphis - 6-10 (0-1) , 13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist
    Portland - 3-6 (1-3 3P), 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
    Los Angeles - 6-12 (3-5 3P), 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists

    That's 50% shooting (44% 3P), 13.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 2 assists.  Not bad rookie.
  • I thought Fess played well on Randolph.  Fess is probably one of the only guys that Z can't push around.
  • Whatever iteration of SWARM was out there last night was the one that earned the moniker. Ronnie P backed that up after the game (via @tribjazz):
    "Jazz's Price said he has a new mindset: Wants to be a defensive sparkplug and not worry about anything else.

    Jazz's Price watched recent game tape of himself, decided he wasn't playing with enough intensity, fight. That changed tonight."

    That's the essence of SWARM.  Watson had stated earlier that the second unit was going to come out and give it their all knowing that they weren't going to get many minutes.  

    To me it's cramming 35 minutes of PT into the 8-15 that you'll get on any given night.  We saw that.  We need that.
  • The Jazz were without Memo again.  CJ tried to play but couldn't go because of the flu still.  @tribjazz reported that Watson and Price both have been going through the same thing but have been able to play.
  • Lost my link to the roll call app that I use.  I'll post the results for both game threads after Monday's game against Detroit.