Stop me if you've heard this before: Utah Jazz start off well, have a hot first quarter, lead by halftime, give up a number of runs in the third, have a close finish, but just can't get over the hump, free throws are usually involved, and the team loses the game. Tonight the Utah Jazz lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 94-88, and tonight the lead they blew was only 14 points in the first half. I don't know what to say. Memphis was without Marc Gasol, their best player, and Tony Allen, their best wing defender. And they still won with some difficulty. Sure, they still had Mike Conley (12 points, 4 assists) and Zach Randolph (25 points, 8 rebounds). But it's not like the Jazz are currently bereft of talent on their own. After all, they went up big, 28-19, in the first quarter thanks to inspired play by Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, and Rodney Hood. All four of those guys had interesting games -- but more on that at the end.
Utah had the same game as they had against the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and so many others. Honestly, this isn't even funny anymore. Going up big, letting the other team back in, and then not knowing how to finish games. I guess this is really where Dante Exum (defense) and Alec Burks (offense) are truly missed. The Jazz went 5/19 from downtown tonight (26.3%) and shot a pitiful 19-29 from the free throw line (65.5%). It's going to be hard to win games like that. And yes, Memphis didn't shoot that well either, but Memphis did force the Jazz into 17 turn overs.
It was a less than fantastic finish. Memphis got a prayer three from Zach to go, putting them up 89-81 (if I remember corrently). Utah played defense and somehow got the final score to 94-88. It was almost exactly like so many other games this season, complete with the crunch time break down and inability to get defensive rebounds when they mattered most. It was less than awesome.
- Shelvin Mack: 12 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steal and a +13 in +/-
- Rodney Hood: 8 points on 2/7 shooting, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, foul trouble
- Gordon Hayward: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
- Derrick Favors: 14 points on 7/17 shooting, 3 rebounds -- that's not enough for a bigman
- Rudy Gobert: 13 points, 18 rebounds, 5 blocks, 7/10 from the FT line
- : 1 point, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 0/3 shooting
- : 5 points on 2/9 shooting, 0/5 from deep, 4 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal
- : 0 points, 2 rebounds
- : 0 everything
- : 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
- : 9 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 4/8 shooting, and a three
- : DNP-CD
The Jazz play tomorrow night, in the second night of a back-to-back, and third game in four nights, to complete their road trip. They will be tipping off against the New Orleans Pelicans. Utah has now lost five games in a row. And that's just not what a team fighting for the playoffs is supposed to do.