SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – This time, the Jazz closed the deal.
After giving up a late fourth quarter lead, the Jazz finished off the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime to clinch a playoff spot with a 121-115 victory Tuesday night at Vivint Arena.
The Jazz, who had blown two 20-point leads last week and had lost six of its last seven, got 22 points and 21 rebounds from Rudy Gobert to lock down at least the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
“A week ago, we probably don’t win that game, don’t win in overtime,” Gobert said. “There’s a trust and communication that we had, an intensity that we had down the stretch. You get a chance to win every night when you do that.”
Jordan Clarkson had 22 points, while Donovan Mitchell scored 20 points, and had eight rebounds and five assists, despite making just 6 of 24 shots from the field.
Hassan Whiteside tallied 14 points and 10 boards off the bench.
“Everybody just tapping in and focusing in on finishing the game,” Clarkson said. “We had to finish it in overtime, an extra five minutes. Maybe sometimes that’s what we need to finish them out. But we’re just happy to finish the game and get a win here on the home floor.”
Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 28 points for the Grizzlies. Tyus Jones added 24 points and Desmond Bane had 23 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Memphis played without its top two scorers. Ja Morant (right knee soreness) and Dillon Brooks (right hip soreness) were both inactive. The same injury has sidelined Morant since mid-March. Their absence didn’t stop the Grizzlies from producing big baskets as the fourth quarter wound down.
Jackson made a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute of regulation and Kyle Anderson put back Bane’s airball on a 3-pointer before the buzzer to force overtime. Mitchell went 1 for 2 from the free throw line with 5.6 seconds on the clock and the Jazz leading 109-108.
Utah went ahead for good when Mitchell and Gobert scored on back-to-back possessions to help the Jazz carve out a 119-113 lead. Memphis was held without a basket for four minutes in overtime.
“After it goes to overtime, it would have been very easy to (feel) defeated,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “It was the exact opposite.”
Utah built a 30-19 lead a minute into the second quarter after Clarkson and Mike Conley capped a 10-1 run with back-to-back 3s.
Memphis erased the double-digit deficit right before halftime. The Grizzlies tied it on a corner 3 from Bane and took a 50-48 lead on a pair of free throws from Jackson with 7.2 seconds left in the half.
Bane scored four baskets in 3 ½ minutes after halftime to help propel Memphis to a 68-57 lead. The second-year guard had 12 points in the third quarter alone. With Bane leading the way, the Grizzlies made six of their first nine shots in the second half.
Utah surged back ahead 91-83 early in the fourth quarter behind a 21-7 run fueled by three baskets and three assists from Clarkson. Danuel House, Jr. capped the surge with a four-point play and an alley-oop dunk.
The Jazz (47-32) move up to the fifth seed in the Western Conference, a half game ahead of Denver with three games remaining.
Utah next hosts Oklahoma City Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.