MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The brutal back-to-back-to-back set suddenly became less brutal.
"We understand the importance of where we are and we're ready for the challenge," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said at the team's morning shootaround. "This back-to-back-to-back, it's going to be a whirlwind here for a little bit."
By the time the challenge-accepting Jazz are done whirling and twirling around the country, they will have played in Tennessee, Louisiana and Oklahoma in three consecutive nights.
They can only hope they blow through games at New Orleans (Monday) and Oklahoma City (Tuesday) with similar force and effort as they had in a road-trip-starting 98-88 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum.
Starting swingman Gordon Hayward continued his strong play of late, scoring a season-high 23 points and dishing out five assists to help Utah snap its three-game losing streak.
And he wasn't the only big contributor tonight as Utah won for the first time in five road games and improved its record to 14-12.
Center Al Jefferson, perhaps determined to show All-Star naysayers that he might've deserved recognition over Memphis counterpart Marc Gasol, had a monster game with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Gasol, who earned his first All-Star bid last week, had 17 points and nine boards for the 14-14 Grizzlies. Rudy Gay topped Memphis with 22 points.
Paul Millsap added 16 points and eight boards, Raja Bell tallied 10 points and Devin Harris chipped in with nine points. The Jazz shot 50.6 percent — improving to 6-0 when hitting half of their shots in a game — and distributed the ball terrifically with 26 assists. The Grizzlies only shot 43.6 percent.
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