Utah Jazz fight, win a tough one against the Memphis Grizzlies

Nov 10, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) dunks during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 10, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen (23) dunks during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Utah Jazz faced an angry Memphis team that wanted revenge.

On the final game of their road trip, the Utah Jazz headed south to face the Memphis Grizzlies, in their opening game of the NBA In-Season Tournament.

Early, the Jazz looked a bit out of sorts as Memphis took a 19-11 lead halfway through the 1st quarter. Then Will Hardy subbed in Collin Sexton and Talen Horton-Tucker for Keyonte George and Ochai Agbaji, and the Jazz went on an 11-0 run to tie the game up at 29-all. The teams traded baskets from there and the Jazz led 34-32 at the end of the quarter.

In the 2nd quarter, the Jazz continued to score efficiently, with Simone Fontecchio, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji and Jordan Clarkson all joining in the fun as the Jazz opened up a 76-63 lead at the half.

In the early 3rd quarter, John Collins went up for a score over Bismack Biyombo, and they both came to the floor after the collision. Memphis used their challenge as it appeared Collins wrapped his arm around Biyombo’s neck. However, the officials insisted that Biyombo made body contact first so the challenge was unsuccessful.

Later, at the 4:30 mark, Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. scored on a putback, and frustrated at the lack of a call on the first shot, barked at the official and was quickly hit with 2 technicals and ejected.

Taylor Jenkins, the Memphis coach was also hit with a T for arguing the sequence, as part of a 19-6 Utah Jazz run, which left the Memphis crowd frustrated over the home team’s ineptitude (and the officials).

After that the game changed. Memphis came to life and caused a few Jazz turnovers. The Grizzlies whittled away at the 21-point Utah Jazz lead, cutting it to to 8 as Memphis made their run to close the 3rd quarter.

At 5:49 of the 4th quarter, Marcus Smart was whistled for his 6th foul while undercutting Lauri Markkanen. He had played rough and dirty much of the 2nd half, and it was a relief for the Jazz to see him exit.

Memphis would get within 1 point (120-119) on Luke Kennard’s 3 pointer, but the Jazz put together some stops and a few good offensive plays to seal the game at 127-121.

A few thoughts:

The Jazz go to 1-0 in Group play for the NBA In-Season Tournament.

The Jazz did show grit and out-hustled Memphis at the end, which was nice to see.

Rookie Keyonte George, in his 2nd start, struggled from the field (2-12) but ran the offense well, finishing with 7 points, 11 assists, and a blocked shot in 30 minutes.

John Collins, after struggling defensively in other games this year, had 4 blocked shots and was much more active defending in space, to go with his 18 points.

After a 33-point outing against Indiana, Jordan Clarkson had 26 tonight, but it was more efficient (9-16 shooting tonight, as opposed to 12-26 against the Pacers) and he kept the turnovers and bad plays to a minimum.

The Jazz were beaten on the offensive glass 14-8 by Memphis, one of the only times that’s occurred this season.

The Jazz had no answer for Desmond Bane of Memphis, who had 37 points and was 7-13 from 3 point range.

At one point the Jazz were shooting 60% from the field, 51% from 3, and 95% from the line (during the 3rd quarter run). They would finish the game just shy of 54/49/93.

The Jazz won their first road game of the year after starting 0-5.

The Jazz had 10 steals and 12 blocked shots on the night, after having 7 steals and 3 blocks in the prior game against Memphis. The 22 combined takeaways were a season-high for the Jazz.

Bottom line, the Utah Jazz got the W, and now have a few days to work on things before their next game at home against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Next. Why Memphis gave the Jazz so much trouble tonight. dark