MEMPHIS (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz are putting together overall winning streaks with an even longer stretch of success on the road.
The Memphis Grizzlies simply aren’t winning anywhere.
Utah won its fifth consecutive game and 10th in a row on the road Friday night, as Jae Crowder scored a season-high 22 points in a 95-78 victory over the Grizzlies.
The loss was the 16th straight for Memphis.
The game was an example of the differing directions for the two teams – the Jazz trying to hold onto their postseason position, the Grizzlies dealing with injuries and using younger players while owning the worst record in the NBA.
Utah held onto the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. The Jazz entered the night a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets.
”It took a lot of preparation, a lot of hard work, but we’ve still got a lot more games to go,” said forward Derrick Favors, who finished with 12 points, four rebounds and three blocks. ”We can’t be satisfied with (eighth place).”
Joe Ingles added 16 points for Utah, while Ricky Rubio had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
”Not every game is pretty,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, later adding: ”In addition to a couple of turnovers, we missed some people and made it a little hard on ourselves.”
Nothing is pretty for the Grizzlies right now. There are bright spots. Dillon Brooks led Memphis with 18 points, his second straight game leading the team in scoring. Ben McLemore finished with 14, while Jarell Martin contributed 13, making only five of his 15 shots as Memphis shot 37 percent for the game.
”If anything, this reinforces my values in basketball and what I believe in and how important it is to winning,” Grizzlies center Marc Gasol said. ”I’m frustrated, not just because of myself, but I’m frustrated for what the situation of the team is.”
Memphis lost track of the Jazz when Utah went on a 14-2 run over the final 6 minutes of the second quarter. That helped Utah carry a 50-38 lead into the break. Utah didn’t trail in the second half and was never in any real danger of losing the lead after a short opening burst by Memphis to open the second half.
Once the Jazz stemmed that rally, the advantage never dropped below eight points.
”We had to grind it out. We had to find a way to win,” Favors said. ”Find a way to get stops and we did.”
The Jazz next play at New Orleans Sunday.