The Utah Jazz (4-2) won their first home game of the season last night by defeating the Memphis Grizzlies (3-4) 89-79. It was a spectacular game for many reasons, none bigger than the fact that our very own Layton Shumway was in attendance. (Check out his twitter, y'all!) There were other reasons as well, to be sure. It's always fun when and face one another, either for their National teams or at the NBA level. Both guys are very competitive and had huge impacts upon how this game went. It was also a very special game because seems like he's finally turned the corner on his shooting slump, as he finished with 18 points and only needed 10 shots to get there. However, I think most of us will easily agree that tonight was very special because of performance off the bench. He scored 24 points, on 50.0 FG%, thanks in no small part to absolutely bombing from deep. Really. Going 6 for 8 from downtown is a big deal, and on a night where the Jazz offense failed to score 90 points that was huge.
In the game preview I just assumed that Memphis would have the advantage at point guard, and you'd be reasonable in thinking that and are superior to and Trey Burke. But last night Burke's 24 (on 16 shots) was superior to Conley's 20 points (on 25 shots). I'm glad to have it. This wasn't an "I told ya so" game just yet. But a very strong game for those of us who have not wavered in our support of the National College player of the year (2013) and three time NBA Rookie of the Month. One of the big differences in performance for Trey was that he was actually making his spot up jumpers. He's more of a "rhythm" shooter and his numbers over his career indicate as much. For him to continue being a dangerous weapon for the team he will have to continue being effective without the ball in his hands. Last night he did exactly that, though he did have a very nice drive and lob pass assist to Rudy Gobert with less than 4 minutes in the game.
And that reminds me, let's get back to the game.
The Jazz started the game off looking like the lesser of the two clubs. Memphis went on a 13-5 run from tip off, and their starters were causing a lot of problems. It wasn't until mixed lineups were used by both coaches in the first quarter did the tides turn. With Rudy Gobert,, Gordon Hayward, , and Trey Burke (and then with replacing Favors), the good guys went on a 16-6 run to bring what was once a near double-digit deficit back down to neutral ground. The sea-saw first quarter was less than eventful, though Rudy (4 points, 2 blocks), and Gordon (9 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 block) made the best of it. After one the Jazz were up 21-19.
The Jazz really capitalized on their open shots in the second and third quarters. We're finally getting to see Quin Snyder's offense with people actually getting assists. Utah won the second quarter 30-19, and the third 26-19. The internet was ablaze with the Grizzlies' premature deaths. Sure, scoring fewer than 60 points after three quarters isn't anything to be proud of. But really I felt like the national conversation should have been on the young Jazz and their legit defense, not "Memphis is bad."
But as I hinted at, it was a premature death. Being down 21 to a "lotto team" actually made some of their players step up and Memphis went on a 13-0 run at the start of the fourth to make a game out of this. Mike Conley,, and were very active against their Jazz counterparts. From this, I guess, we learn that you can't put away teams by letting them back into the game.
With four minutes left it was a 10 points Jazz lead, and in the end, yes, the good guys won. Gordon Hayward had some great closeouts. Rudy Gobert really made life hard in the paint, though he was getting muscled out by a team of bears each time down the court. Alec Burks had a really huge 'out of his area' rebound (thank you Based P3) that sealed the game in my mind. (Of course, when you're up by 21 points in the 4th quarter at some point the game is almost always locked up.)
Solid win from the Jazz. Finally a win at home. And awesome to have the Shums in audience!
Props go to:
- Gordon Hayward: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, two threes, 60% shooting overall
- Derrick Favors: 12 points, 16 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block, great overall desire on both sides of the court
- Rudy Gobert: 7 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists, 1 steal
- : 7 points, 3 blocks, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 three (a mini-AK)
- Alec Burks: 9 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 three!
- and of course, Trey Burke: 24 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steals, 6 threes, and his 24th "20 point game" of his NBA career
I'm happy with this win, even if I couldn't watch the game live. (Or in person) And I'm happy with this team. This is a really solid win that they can build on. Speaking of which, the Jazz head out on the road again for a four game trip where they will play @ Cleveland Cavaliers (Nov 10th), Miami Heat (Nov 12th), Orlando Magic (Nov 13th), and finish with the Atlanta Hawks (Nov 15th). Fun, fun, fun for East coast (or eastern) Jazz fans!