The NBA season is a long, intense one, especially during a lockout year. Sixty-six games in less than four months can seem like a marathon, with twists and turns throughout.
The Utah Jazz season took a definite turn downward as they fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in a hard-fought 103-98 loss Saturday.
The past 28 hours are hard to swallow for players, coaches and fans alike. Prior to Friday’s outing against New Orleans, the Jazz were riding an amazing high. They had just defeated the Houston Rockets in one of their most impressive outings.
Since then, though, they’ve dropped back-to-back games in New Orleans and Memphis. The outlook is quite different as a result.
Costly Errors: During a Playoff run, every game is magnified in importance. Likewise, each play can also increase in magnitude.
Such was the case in the fourth quarter where the Memphis Grizzlies manhandled the Jazz 33-22. It was close for a good part of the quarter, but a series of errors did Utah in: missed free throws, telegraphed passes, Memphis offensive boards off free throws, slow defensive rotations on the perimeter and so forth. Those plays permanently shifted momentum toward Memphis.
The Jazz can take solace in the fact that they were very much in it until the end. They probably are also reflecting on the plays that may have certain ramifications on their valiant playoff pursuit.
Numbers that tell Stories:
- 34-17: the free throw disparity in Memphis’ favor. Hats' off to the Grizzlies for connecting of 28 of them: 82.4 percent. Utah center Al Jefferson had zero free throw attempts, compared to 17 shots from the field.
- 61.7 percent: the proportion of Utah’s available minutes taken by Jefferson, Devin Harris, Paul Millsap and Gordon Hayward. Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin altered his rotations quite a bit, going with his starters for most of the second half.
- .83: Points per minute by Memphis guard O.J. Mayo. With 20 points in 24 minutes, the Grizzlies sharpshooter was huge off the pine.
- 7: the number of offensive rebounds by Derrick Favors. Also the number of his defensive ones. Favors has been dominant of late on the glass, averaging 12.7 the past three outings and 8.8 the past 10 games.
David Smith is providing instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.