At least they changed pace in one sense.
For the first time this regular season, the Utah Jazz led after the first quarter, but it didn't better from there — including after halftime, when the Jazz had been dominant in the third quarter this season.
Not Monday night, though. And it added up to a loss against the Grizzlies. Here is how Utah graded:
GUARDS: In typically rocky contests, Mo Williams has been a bright spot so far this season. That largely continued in Memphis, when Williams scored 17 points with eight assists. However, Memphis point guard Mike Conley (16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, five rebounds) proved difficult to handle the entire contest. Gordon Hayward (19 points, five rebounds) was solid for the third consecutive contest and did a great job on Memphis starting two-guard Tony Allen (just eight points on 4-of-13 shooting). GRADE: B
FORWARDS: Paul Millsap (14 points on 5-of-13 shooting) and Marvin Williams (six points, 2-of-5) left a lot to be desired offensively, though Derrick Favors found himself in the game during the fourth quarter while the contest was still in doubt. Favors (14 points, eight rebounds in 26 minutes) succeeded personally, but playing him with Milllsap and Al Jefferson late (for the second straight game) didn't necessarily improve the situation when it counted most.
Zach Randolph (18 rebounds) ripped an inordinate amount of rebounds down, but it wasn't much higher (just three) than his average so far this season. At least Rudy Gay (15 points on 3-of-17 shooting) was held beneath his 21.5 per-game average entering the game, but he largely made up for it with his performance at the charity stripe (8-of-8). GRADE: C-
CENTERS: The Jazz can't afford for Enes Kanter to find himself in foul trouble as he has the past three games. Four fouls in 12 minutes made him a non-factor. If Jefferson (11 points on 5-of-10 shooting, 10 rebounds) is on like he was Monday, he needs more than 10 shot attempts. It will be interesting to see if he scores more than 12.3 points per game as the season continues. However, the opposing center was once again too effective, as Marc Gasol (22 points, eight rebounds) proved why he is one of the league's better big men. GRADE: C-
BENCH: The Jazz reserves were edged 26-24 by the same Memphis group in a contest where neither side factored too much. A career 3.5 points per game scorer in Quincy Pondexter — who? — scored 14 points ... in just 22 minutes! His outlying performance was arguably the biggest factor in the Grizzlies' win. GRADE: C-
OVERALL: You can argue that Utah is better than this. The Jazz committed 15 or more turnovers for the third straight game (and had 14 in the season-opener against Dallas). The Jazz averaged 7.4 more rebounds per game than their opponents heading into Monday, but lost that battle 51-42. Are they truly this poor on the road? Or will they at least improve? With players like Jefferson and Millsap — and now Randy Foye and the two Williamses — the team should be more savvy away from Salt Lake City. GRADE: C-
Rhett Wilkinson studies interesting stuff at Utah State University and is the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. Previously a Deseret News intern, he can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter: @wilklogan
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