SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Building off a winning second half against the NBA champion Denver Nuggets on Monday, the Utah Jazz put together a complete game against the winless Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night in rout to a dominating 133-109 victory.
In one of his first games playing off the ball instead of the point, Collin Sexton scored 23 points and Lauri Markkanen had 19 points and 11 rebounds to power the Utah Jazz to the win
“I’m just going to do whatever the team needs whenever I’m out there. Coach Will (Hardy) knows I can step into 3’s pretty well and he has a lot of confidence in me,” Sexton said.
Sexton went 8 for 10, had four 3-pointers and dished out six assists in 22 minutes.
“Having him off the ball and making shots, making plays, puts a lot more pressure on defenses,” said Kelly Olynyk, who had 14 points.
“Having a really good result like this as a team early in the season does help add to the belief,” Hardy said. “It does help build the trust among the group that we are on the right track and that we are capable of playing really good basketball.”
Desmond Bane scored 21 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 19 for winless Memphis (0-5), which trailed the entire game and has opened a season with five straight losses for the first time since 2002, when they dropped 13 consecutive games.
The Jazz (2-3) scored on their final eight possessions of the first quarter and shot 15 of 20 from the field and 8 for 10 from 3-point range for a 42-19 lead.
“I feel like we needed this win just to get back on our feet and just continue to push,” Sexton said. “The last couple of games have been tough, but we just continue to push through and tonight we got a great win.”
Utah extended the advantage to 35 points in the second quarter thanks to 69% shooting. Utah led 79-46 at halftime and had more 3s (14) than the Grizzlies had field goals of any kind (13).
Markkanen extended his streak with at least four 3s (on 4 of 6 shooting) to four games. Clarkson also added four 3s as the Jazz made a season-best 22 of 43 from 3-point range.
Utah’s motion offense and crisp passing was one step ahead of the lagging Memphis defense while the Jazz employed a matchup zone at times that dared players to make 3s.
In the first half, Bane went 4 of 9 from 3-point range while his teammates went a collective 4 for 23.
Jordan Clarkson scored 20 points and John Collins contributed 16 for the Jazz.
“I’m just trying to make the easy play and my teammates have been knocking shots down,” Clarkson said. “We’ve just been trying to play that free-flow basketball where everybody has the opportunity to make those shots.”
The Jazz recorded 35 assists on 47 made baskets.
“We moved the ball really well. I don’t expect us to shoot that clip every single night. I recognize that there is a little bit of good fortune in that, but I thought we did a really good job of generating good looks,” Hardy said.
Ja Morant missed the game while serving a 25-game suspension to start the season. He has been allowed to practice and travel with the team at times, so the struggling Grizzlies are regularly reminded of their missing catalyst.
“Stay the course — we’ve been preaching the same stuff. We’re on a skid right now. It’s been hard but there’s been a lot of positivity throughout the team and that’s what matters because we’re going to need that later,” Jackson said.
The Jazz next host Orlando on Thursday.