In one of the most improbable victories in recent franchise memory, the Utah Jazz stole a 105-102 decision from the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies lead by 18 at one point midway through the third quarter, before the Jazz went on a 25-2 run to take an 81-78 lead. Pau Gasol would lead all scorers with 32, but the night would belong to Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko who had 24 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.

The Jazz actually started out the gates playing pretty well, and at one point lead by 5 points. Kirilenko would score the first 7 points for the Jazz, while Gasol would score the first 8 for the Grizzlies. The turning point of the first half was when the Jazz lead by 4, Memphis took a time out and then scored 10 straight points to take the lead.

During the first quarter Pau Gasol was unstoppable, as he got 16 points, and 3 rebounds to help the Grizzlies build a seven-point lead. But the Jazz would comeback and by the end of the quarter they would cut the lead to just 3.

The Grizzlies would score the first 5 points of the second quarter to take an 8 point lead, before Milt Palacio would score on a driving lay-up. The Grizzlies however would be undaunted and extent their lead to 14 soon after the Jazz basket by Palacio.

The Jazz would make a mini run midway through the second quarter, and cut the Memphis lead to six after a Kirilenko lay-up. But the Grizzlies would go back to their bread-and-butter as Gasol would help the Grizzlies increase their lead to 14 again.

The Jazz would close the gap to 11 at the half, behind Kris Humphries’s six points in the final two minutes of the half. At the half Kirilenko lead the Jazz with 15 points, Keith Mcleod added 11, and Mehmet Okur failed to score in the first half for the Jazz. The Grizzlies were lead by Gasol who had 22 at the half.

The beginning of the second half saw the Jazz try to make a comeback, as on the first play of the half they went to Okur who made a lay-up and was fouled to cut the Grizzlies lead to 8. The Grizzlies maintained an eight to twelve point lead during most the early part of the third, but midway through the quarter some costly Jazz turnovers allowed the Grizzlies to extend their lead to 18.

The Grizzlies had three possessions to extend their lead to 20 over the Jazz, but failed to score. This was part of a 13 minute scoreless drought for the Grizzlies. The Jazz got back into the game after a Deron Williams fast breaking lay-up, followed by a Keith Mcleod lay-up. Mehmet Okur would cut the Grizzlies lead back to 11 with a three pointer with a little over 2 minutes remaining in the quarter. Kirilenko would add a free throw and Matt Harpring a pair of lay-ups to cut the Grizzlies lead to just six points at the end of three.

The Jazz started the 4th quarter the same way they ended the third, by going to Matt Harpring who would score the next six points to tie the game at 76. The Jazz would cap a 20-0 run when Deron Williams found a cutting Greg Ostertag for a George Gervin style finger roll to put the Jazz up 78-76.

The Grizzlies and Jazz would trade baskets off and on until the final minutes of the game. With the Grizzlies leading by two, Kirilenko would hit a pair for free throws to tie the game at 88. The Grizzlies would score to take a 90-88 lead with under a minute to play. The Jazz would tie the game back at 90 with 36 second left in the game. Damon Stoudamire would once again try to kill the Jazz, as he had done in their previous meeting, Stoudamire would hit a three pointer with 18 second left, to give the Grizzlies a 93-90 lead.

The Jazz would come back with a Keith McLeod lay-up, cutting the Grizzlies lead to one. The Jazz would then foul Stoudamire, who would hit both free throws giving the Grizzlies a 95-92 lead with six seconds left. On the inbound play Deron Williams would find Andrei Kirilenko for a game tying trey from about 30 feet out.

The Jazz took a quick lead in over-time only to lose it to Gasol and the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies lead 100-97 when Kris Humphries, who had replaced Matt Harpring, hit a pair of free throws to cut it to 100-99. On the ensuing possession Mehmet Okur would hit a three-pointer giving the Jazz the lead for good at 102-100. The Grizzlies crept within one at 102-101 but Kirilenko’s defensive play would seal the victory for the Jazz.

The Jazz had four players, Harpring, Mcleod, Kirilenko, and Okur, to score 20 or more points in the game. This is the first time this has happened for the Jazz since Stockton, Hornacek, Russell, and Malone did it 8 years ago. Eddie Jones scored a quite 25 points for the Grizzlies, and Gasol finished with 32 points, Mike Miller was the only other Grizzlies to finish with double figures as he scored 14.

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    Written By:
    Bran Faurschou


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