Less than a week ago, the Utah Jazz dazzled their home crowd with an electrifying opening-night win. Nothing can bring a team down to the ground quicker than the road, however. Monday night saw the Jazz lose their third straight away from home, falling to the Memphis Grizzlies 103-94.
Utah played a sparkling first quarter, frustrating the Grizzlies to a 2-of-19 start from the field. The Jazz led 25-18 after 12 minutes, but it quickly went downhill after that. Memphis won each of the last three quarters, outscoring the Jazz 85-69 over that span.
Memphis All-Stars Marc Gasol (22 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) and Zach Randolph (16 points, 18 rebounds) led the charge for the victors. The Jazz again had a balanced attack in the loss, with six players making it to double figures.
Hustle is a Talent: While reflective, the stat sheet does not properly represent the way Memphis took charge. Led by their front court, the Grizzlies pounded the glass relentlessly, winning the rebounding battle 51-42. They finished with 14 offensive boards and got some timely put-backs as a result.
The Grizzlies played some stifling defense, which propelled their offense. Again, their nine steals and 10 blocks belie their performance. Utah’s shots were constantly contested and passes were deflected.
Lastly, they were just quicker to the loose balls. There were a handful of instances where the Jazz would scramble to make some nice temporary stops, only to watch Memphis recover for back-breaking plays.
Rotating Rotations: It is natural for coaches to experiment at the beginning of the season, mixing and matching players to find lineups that work. This is especially polarized when a team is struggling.
Case in point: through the first three games, point guard Jamaal Tinsley averaged 14.7 minutes per outing, while small forward DeMarre Carroll was earning 12.3. Monday, neither saw the court. And after just cameos, Jeremy Evans and Alec Burks both had early first-half appearances Monday.
Meanwhile, Gordon Hayward (37 minutes) and Derrick Favors (26) saw increases.
Expect the tinkering to continue during the next few games.
- Memphis had 25 free-throw attempts compared to Utah’s 13. Further evidence of the Grizzlies’ effort.
- Coming into the game, Paul Millsap, believe it or not, was leading the league in 3-point percentage. He made his first two Monday, meaning he started the season 5 for 5 before his last shot bounced off the rim.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. 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.