Utah Jazz run past Grizzlies

Published: Monday, Dec. 6 2010 11:38 p.m. MST

Jazz-Grizzlies boxscore

SALT LAKE CITY — It wouldn't win any beauty contests — not the kind for games that resemble pretty people who look good in evening gowns or swimwear, at least.

And it wasn't against the caliber of opponent they'll face the rest of this week.

Pitted against the team that tied them for the mythical 2010 NBA preseason championship with an 8-0 exhibition record, the Utah Jazz picked up an ugly-but-must-get win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.

Deron Williams scored 27 points and C.J. Miles contributed 20 off the bench to help the Jazz gut out a 94-85 victory at EnergySolutions Arena over a scrappy Grizzlies' squad that also gave Denver all it could handle Sunday.

After the ugly slugfest, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan complimented both 8-14 Memphis for hanging in and playing hard and his 16-6 Jazz for grinding it out.

"It was a nice win for us," Sloan said. "No, it wasn't a pretty win, but we'll take them any way we can get them."

The bounce-back win for the Jazz, who were thumped 93-81 by Dallas on Friday, was especially a bonus considering a variety of factors.

For one thing, Utah only hit 42 percent of its shots, including a 1-for-10 outing from Andrei Kirilenko. The Jazz were also outrebounded 43-38, got outscored in the paint 54-42 and their big men struggled mightily against one of the NBA's toughest interiors.

"We didn't really click as a group all night. It was kind of a defensive battle," said Williams, whose team held Memphis to 41.8 percent shooting. "We played well in spurts."

But just well enough.

Center Al Jefferson had a double-double, but he only scored 12 points and missed 8 of 13 shots to go with his 10 rebounds in his tussle with 7-foot-1 Marc Gasol (13 points, seven boards).

And power forward Paul Millsap really struggled against feisty Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies' post piled up 17 points and 14 rebounds compared with a subpar seven-point, seven-assist night by Millsap, who shot just 3-for-11.

"Them boys, they play hard and they play hard to the end," Jefferson said of Memphis' men in the middle.

But the Jazz played hard, too, and finished harder, thanks in part to how Millsap turned it on in the fourth quarter. He made several clutch plays while scoring five points with four rebounds, two steals and a block in the final period.

"Me and Paul (didn't) have the best games," Jefferson said. "But that's how great this team is, when two main guys don't have a great game and we still can win and take care of business, so it's a blessing."

Miles' performance off the bench also seemed heaven-sent, especially in the second quarter when he scored 15 points and also during Utah's decisive late run.

Miles sparked an 8-0 Jazz spurt after Memphis pulled to within three at 84-81 on a Randolph layup with 4:14 remaining.

In succession, the sixth man assisted on a Raja Bell 3-pointer, made a steal that resulted in a layup and a free throw, and then dished off to Millsap for a reverse that put Utah up 92-81.

"C.J. brought a lot of energy off the bench," Jefferson said.

"That's my job," Miles said.

Williams, who struggled in Friday's home blowout loss, had the hot hand early on.

The reigning Western Conference Player of the Month scored nine points in the first seven minutes, only to get cooled off momentarily when he picked up an early second foul forced him to sit.

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