MEMPHIS — Friday was Elvis Night at the FedEx Forum.
Thanks to the Utah Jazz, they might be serving leftover turnovers at Graceland today to celebrate The King's would-be 76th birthday.
Before Elvis lovers left the building, the Jazz had served up a season-high 23 turnovers to the hunka-hunka-burning Memphis Grizzlies in a 110-99 loss.
"We just turned the ball over a lot and didn't execute," a dismayed Jazz point guard Deron Williams said moments after committing a team-high five turnovers.
"We're not defending," he added. "We looked lost on both ends of the court. ... We can't win with 20-plus turnovers. It starts with me."
Williams used the word "careless" to describe his own handle on the ball, and coach Jerry Sloan added the Jazz were too "casual" with their execution and passes.
Memphis ended up with 17 steals, including four apiece for Rudy Gay and Tony Allen, and the suddenly hot Grizzlies turned the TOs into 27 points.
"They were quick to the ball. They got their hands on it," Sloan said. "That shows their energy level and the way they went after the ball. We just kept throwing it away."
Al Jefferson (16 points, 13 rebounds) and Francisco Elson (back in his reserve role) didn't register turnovers. But the nine other Jazz players who saw action coughed the ball up at least once to help Memphis build a lead as high as 15.
The Jazz, who only average 13.3 turnovers per game, racked up a whopping 15 turnovers by halftime. Only sizzling shooting, including a 10-for-14 first quarter, kept Utah from getting blown out and checking into Presley's least-favorite hotel in the first half.
The night wasn't without a few highlights for the Jazz.
Still sore, power forward Paul Millsap was valiant in his return to the starting lineup after a painful bruised right hip injury made him miss a rare game Wednesday.
Millsap finished with a team-high 20 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
"I felt OK," said Millsap, who wasn't sure if he'd play after going through shootaround Friday morning. "As I got going, it loosened up a little bit. In the heat of the battle you don't really feel it."
The Jazz also got some extra spark from backup point guard Earl Watson. The former Memphis guard tied his season-high with 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting with three rebounds and three assists in an extended 19-minute performance.
"I thought (Watson) did a terrific job in the first half whenever Raja (Bell) and Deron both got in foul trouble," Sloan said. "He and Ronnie Price kept us alive."
The Jazz made a late surge to pull within seven in the final three minutes, but Memphis clutched up down the stretch.
In losing to the Grizzlies — something that had only happened one other time in the teams' previous 14 showdowns — the Jazz fell in consecutive contests for the first time since season-opening losses to Denver and Phoenix.
Utah (24-13) had bounced back to win the next game after its previous nine losses.
"I don't like the taste of it. I hope they don't," Sloan said, referring to his players. "That's reality. You've just got to continue to play and work through it. We go through tough times every year. When things don't go well, you've got to see how tough you are and fight out of it."
Not that it will help their egos, but the Jazz, who haven't looked sharp for a while and have lost four of their last seven games, joined a growing group of elite Western Conference teams to have stumbled against Memphis recently.
Since falling in Utah a week ago, the Grizzlies defeated the Lakers in Los Angeles and then beat Oklahoma City prior to Friday's win-streak-extending victory.
Gay led the Grizzlies with 28 points to go with his nine rebounds and four assists, while Zach Randolph proved to be a load again against Utah with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Memphis (17-19) also received solid outings from sixth man O.J. Mayo (13 points), center Marc Gasol (12 points and four blocks) and point guard Mike Conley (10 points, three boards, two steals).32 comments on this story
The Jazz will have a chance to rebound from its first loss to a team with a losing record since Nov. 5 at Golden State (82-75). Utah traveled to Houston after Friday's game and will play the Rockets tonight.
NOTES: Coincidentally, each of the four opponents who beat the Jazz in their two two-game losing skids have scored 110 points. Utah lost to Denver 110-88; to Phoenix 110-94; to Atlanta 110-87; and, now, to Memphis 110-99. ... The Jazz's previous season-high for turnovers was 22, which happened in the first game at Denver. ... This was the Jazz's fifth wire-to-wire loss of the year.