SALT LAKE CITY — Heading into Monday night, the Utah Jazz were tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA’s Western Conference standings.
With an assist from former University of Utah guard Delon Wright, the Jazz gained an edge on the Thunder.
Make that a career high number of assists.
Wright had 18 points and a career-best 13 assists for Memphis as the Grizzlies, already eliminated from the playoff race, topped the Thunder 115-103.
Combined with Utah’s win over Phoenix, the Jazz now have a one-game lead on Oklahoma City, as well as San Antonio, in the Western Conference standings with eight games to play. Utah is also currently tied with the Los Angeles Clippers in a packed race for playoff seeding.
Having the Thunder lose particularly helps the Jazz, who lost the season series 0-4 to Oklahoma City this year.
"I feel like our motto was — once we were out of the playoffs — it was kind of like, 'Let's mess up other teams' seasons by giving them a loss,'" Wright said, according to The Associated Press.
With Mike Conley out with an injury, Wright, a midseason trade to the Grizzlies from Toronto, got the start Monday and made the most of it. In addition to his point and assist totals, he had four steals and three rebounds.
"Wright was the fourth guard for a deep, talented Toronto team. He’s getting more minutes and more responsibility in Memphis," Chris Herrington of the Daily Memphian wrote after Monday's win.
"Everybody that's been playing, probably in their last situation wasn't playing as much as they'd like," Wright told Herrington. "We’re getting the opportunity over here and we're just trying to do the best we can with it."
Kuzma takes in Jimmer mania
Utah’s 125-92 win over the Suns had a significant sideshow, and no, we’re not just talking about Phoenix’s Devin Booker scoring an arena-record 59 points in the loss.
Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette returned to Utah after signing with the Suns last week. He’s spent the past three seasons playing in China before getting his latest chance in the NBA.16 comments on this story
Fredette — who had 6 points on a rough shooting night and added an assist, steal and rebound — received a bevy of cheers and reactions every time he touched the ball, entered the game or pretty much did anything Monday night.
The attention he received from the fans caught the attention of another former Ute, Kyle Kuzma, who will play with the Los Angeles Lakers in Utah on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. MDT on ESPN.
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And finally ...
While the full story is behind a paywall, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal shared another bit of information about the Pac-12 and its beleaguered television on Monday.