August Miller, Deseret News
If only they were all so simple.
Actually, they have been lately for the Jazz, who beat Memphis 120-93 Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena for their third straight win and sixth in seven games.
It was the 10th consecutive win over the Grizzlies for 10-7 Utah, which led Chicago by as many as 25 on Thursday, Portland by as many as 27 on Saturday and Memphis by as many as 32 in the fourth quarter.
The lone blemish in the Jazz's last seven: A defeat last Tuesday to Oklahoma City that really riled coach Jerry Sloan.
"The last three games, after the Oklahoma City loss, (we've had) our focus on stopping people," point guard Deron Williams said after Utah's highest-scoring game of the season. "We're holding percentages down, and we're executing on offense."
Are they ever.
After shooting slightly better than 60 percent from the field against both Chicago and Portland, the Jazz hit 58.4 percent against Memphis - leaving them just shy of making it 60 or better in three straight games and becoming the first NBA team to do so since Indiana in 1994.
Their biggest scorers Monday, not coincidentally, were rather proficient.
Ronnie Brewer led the Jazz with a game-high 25 points, one off his career high, and made 11-of-16 from the field.
Boozer had a 25-point, 15-rebound double-double and converted 9-of-14.
Williams scored 22 while shooting 9-for-15, and rookie Wesley Matthews had a season-high 17 while hitting 6-of-7 on a night six Jazz players reached double figures (Kyrylo Fesenko had 11 off the bench and rookie Eric Maynor 10) and all nine who dressed had at least two points.
"We're doing a good job of hitting the open man, and we're sharing the ball offensively," said Boozer, who has 10 double-doubles in 17 games. "If a guy has an open shot, we get it to him. It's fun to play that way."
Fun was a go-to word afterward for Boozer, who is shooting 70 percent from the field (49-for-70) in his last five games - all ones in which he's scored 20-plus.
"I'm very confident in my game," said Boozer, a two-time NBA All-Star who spent an apparently miserable summer talking mostly about wanting to play elsewhere. "I don't want to blow it out of proportion, but I'm having fun. I'm just playing off my teammates."
Beneficiary of the good times is Sloan, whose injury-plagued team - playing Monday without backup small forward Andrei Kirilenko (strained back) among a host of others - has one game remaining, Friday vs. Indiana, in a six-game homestand.
"We passed the basketball, and shared the ball, and made some nice plays," Sloan said after a 28-assist night.
"(Boozer) had a nice night passing the basketball, he made some outside shots, some shots around the basket. He just looks so much more alive than probably any time in the last couple years," the Jazz coach added. "I think he's in great shape. ... I'm proud of him, because he came in and said that's what he's gonna do - and that's all you ask. All the other crap you've got to deal with in this business, you've got to throw it out the window, because it doesn't matter."
Boozer had 18 of his 24 in the opening half and sent the Jazz into the break with a 13-point lead after his steal of a Marcus Williams pass ignited a fastbreak that finished with a Matthews layup and free throw.
"For us to get that momentum booster going into the second half," Boozer said, "it kind of killed their spirit a little bit."
Memphis - 5-3 in its previous eight games - was unexpectedly without two of its starters, point guard Mike Conley and small forward Rudy Gay.
Gay left the team after Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers to tend to an undisclosed family matter, and Conley sat out with a strained left shoulder.
Without those two, the Grizzlies saw Utah's lead soar to as many as 27 during a third quarter in which Brewer had eight of his 25.
The period ended with a fastbreak layup and a circus shot from Brewer, who likes how the Jazz have been burying opponents.
"We are focusing on not letting teams get back in the game," he said. "Sometime we've staggered into the third quarter and not had a lot of intensity, but I think as of late ... were playing with a lot more intensity, a lot more focus."
"For us, that's progress," Boozer added. "I think it goes back to sharing the ball offensively, getting good shots and on the other side being focused on the finishing the possession off with a rebound or a steal."
NOTES: Sloan said he started Fesenko over Okur to start the second half because Okur had three fouls. Okur also got hit hard in the chest in the opening half. ... Each of Utah's victories in its current streak over the Grizzlies has been by double digits ... A Jazz employee hit his head on the floor during a first-half entertainment bit, but
according to a team spokesman he was "okay" afterward.
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