In an ugly and poorly refereed contest the Memphis Grizzlies won an 80-72 decision over the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. Jazz rookie Deron Williams matched his career high of 21 points to lead all scorers, and Mike Miller lead the Grizzlies with 18.
The Grizzlies scored the first four points of the game, before Matt Harpring scored five quick points for the Jazz, giving the Jazz their only lead at 5-4. The Grizzlies would score on their next two possessions making it 8-5. The Grizzlies built up an early six point lead midway though the first quarter before Devin Brown provided a spark for the Jazz, coming off the bench to score six quick points. The Grizzlies three point shooting, and second chance points would be the main factor as to why they won the game. The Grizzlies had four offensive rebounds in the first quarter which accounted for six second chance points, the Grizzlies also hit 3 three-pointers and would take a 23-18 lead into the second quarter.
Both teams continued to have shooting woes in the second quarter, the Grizzlies however continued to grab the offensive boards which lead to 10 more second chance points. The Grizzlies held a 6 to 8 point lead though-out most the quarter, a few Jazz runs would cut the Memphis lead to as low as 2, but the Grizzlies would always find a way to answer. The Grizzlies played a good defensive game limiting Jazz forward Mehmet Okur to just 4 points in the half. The Grizzlies would take an eight-point lead into the locker-room at halftime.
The Jazz came out and cut the Memphis lead down to four quickly in the second half. Okur would score nine points in the quarter most of which came in the first five minutes. The Jazz actually out shot the Grizzlies in the third, but stupid reaching fouls would send the Grizzlies to the line on most possessions. The Grizzlies could have blown the game wide open in the third had their hit their free throws. Late in the third the Jazz made a run and cut the Memphis lead to just two, but Mike Miller would hit four consecutive shots, including a three pointer to give the Grizzlies a nine-point lead at the end of three.
The fourth quarter started out the same way the rest of the game had been played, slow and with a missed shot. The changing moment in the game was when Deron Williams re-entered the game with about eight minutes to play. Williams would score six quick points on back-to-back three pointers, cutting the Memphis lead to five. The Jazz kept the Memphis lead to about five though-out the entire mid-part of the quarter before Devin Brown cut it to three with a little over a minute left. Damon Stoudamire would hit a three as the shot clock expired to give the Grizzlies a six-point lead and take the last bit of hope from the Jazz.
Keys for the Jazz
Free Throws- for once the Jazz made their free throw, hitting on 8 of 11. But the fact that the Jazz only attempted 11 free throws has to worry the Jazz coaches. The Jazzes are a poor shooting team, so they must be able to get points from the line, the Jazz didnít do that tonight and it cost them.
Perimeter Defense- the Jazz has got to figure out how to guard the three point line. The Grizzlies only made 7 of their 20 three pointers, but it was enough to always build up a lead on the Jazz, and the threes seemed to come at the most inopportune times.
Keys for the Grizzlies
Offensive rebounds, and second chance points- the Grizzlies actually lost the O-rebound battle to the Jazz, but unlike the Jazz the Grizzlies made the best of their second chances, scoring 19 points on 12 offensive boards.
Free Throws- This hurt the Grizzlies and allowed the Jazz to stay in the game, the Grizzlies made just 19 of 30 free throws, and on many occasions would make just 1 of 2.
Deron Williams- 21 points and 10 assists for the Jazz, as he tried to mastermind a comeback in the fourth quarter. He was also the only Jazz player to shoot 50% or better in the game.
Mike Miller- his shooting in the third quarter squashed a Jazz run, and ended up putting the Grizzlies on a run. Miller also added eight boards to go with his 18 points.