SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – After a very successful east coast road trip, the Utah Jazz injury woes finally caught up with them.
Playing their fifth straight game without point guard George Hill, with Derrick Favors still plagued by knee problems, and with Rodney Hood out with an illness, the Jazz fell to the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night 102-96.
The Grizzlies used a 9-2 run sparked by Mike Conley’s step-back 3-pointer and a three-point play by Marc Gasol to take a 94-88 lead with 1:25 remaining. Gasol led the Grizzlies with a season-high 22 points.
“(The defense) was porous in the first quarter, to say the least,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “That was the nuts and bolts of the game. There were times we got a stop and couldn’t secure the ball. I didn’t think we were as physical as we needed to be to close possessions.”
“I always try to lead my team,” Gasol said. “I’m trying be more vocal with the guys and keep us stable. By my play, I always try to find the right play, the right open guy.”
Memphis led by as many as 13, but the Jazz kept answering with big plays from Joe Ingles and Trey Lyles. Ingles scored a career-high 20 points and Lyles chipped in 18.
Conley had 18 points and seven assists, and Randolph added 18 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. The Grizzlies outrebounded the Jazz, 44-29.
The Grizzlies led 56-48 at halftime behind a 56.8 shooting percentage, their best in any half this season. They also contained Utah’s best players — Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert — to 13 combined points on 4-of-12 shooting in the first 24 minutes.
Hayward finished with a season-low 13 points on 4 of 14 shooting, including just one of seven from 3-point range.
Shelvin Mack came off the bench to spark the Jazz with 17 points. Boris Diaw returned from an 8-game absence to score six points.
The Jazz (7-5) next host Chicago Thursday night.