Tuesday Jul 5, 2022
Tuesday Jul 5, 2022

8th-seeded Memphis beats No. 1-seeded Jazz in series opener

2021 May 24, 16:25, Kathmandu
Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale (23) battles with Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) for a loose ball during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Photo: AP

The Memphis Grizzlies have not completely consigned their grit-and-grind days to the past.

The eighth-seeded Grizzlies beat top-seeded Utah 112-109 on Sunday night in the opening game of their first-round playoff series by relying on hard-nosed physical defense to keep the Jazz off balance on offense much of the game.

Game 2 of the series is on Wednesday.

Utah never found a rhythm from the perimeter, shooting just 12 of 47 from long distance. Defensively, the Jazz couldn’t stop Dillon Brooks for long stretches.

Brooks had 31 points and seven rebounds to lead the Grizzlies. He set a single-game franchise scoring record for a Memphis player making a playoff debut, surpassing the 24 points scored by Marc Gasol against San Antonio on April 17, 2011.

“He brings a lot of energy to the floor,” guard Ja Morant said. “As soon as we get here in the locker room, he’s already active and loud and carries it onto the floor for us during the game. We just continue to play off of him. I think everybody on this team gets a lot of energy from him, just seeing how active he is on the floor.”

Morant added 26 points. Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Kyle Anderson added 14 points.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 20 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Jazz. Mike Conley had 22 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds. Rudy Gobert added 15 rebounds and 11 points, and Derrick Favors finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Bogdanovic hit five free throws in the final minute to help Utah cut Memphis’ lead to 110-109 with 6.4 seconds left. Brooks made a layup at the other end, and Bogdanovic missed a 3-point try with 1.9 seconds left that would have forced overtime.

Ultimately, the Jazz never fully recovered from playing long stretches of sluggish offense and passive defense.

“We got a few moments when we were distracted, disconnected,” Gobert said. “Every time they score, they are talking, and we know that’s the way they like to play, so we can’t let that affect us.”

Utah cut a double-digit deficit to 60-59 following a layup by Bogdanovic. Then, Brooks took over. He scored 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the third quarter. Brooks capped off his scoring flurry with back-to-back baskets that extended the Grizzlies’ lead to 78-68.

Memphis led by as many as 17 points in the fourth, going up 94-77 on a jumper from Tyus Jones, before the Jazz rallied late.

“He’s our spirit leader,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said concerning Brooks’ performance. “His intensity just permeates throughout the entire team.”

Utah experienced a dry spell on offense through much of the first quarter. The Jazz made a single basket over a seven-minute stretch while committing six turnovers. The Jazz committed eight total turnovers in the quarter.

“Whether it was the offensive rebounds or the turnovers, they just had a lot more possessions than we did and that’s hard to overcome,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “I was happy with the fact that we fought and got back in the game there at the end. But I think we all know we need to play better. And we need to execute better.”

Memphis went ahead 17-14 on a three-point play by Dillon Brooks, but could not gain further ground against the Jazz defense.

The Grizzlies missed 14 straight shots over a seven-minute stretch spanning the first and second quarters. It opened the door for Utah’s 15-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back baskets by Gobert for a 29-17 lead.

Memphis answered with a 31-7 run, starting late in the second quarter, and went ahead 53-43 early in the third. Brooks and Morant combined for six baskets and 17 points to fuel the spurt.

“I don’t think they took us lightly,” Anderson said. “They threw some punches. We threw some punches. We went out and won the game.”

Basketball NBA game competition Memphis grizzlies jazz
Nepal's First Online News Portal
Published by Nepalnews Pvt Ltd
Editor: Raju Silwal
Information Department Registration No. 1505 / 076-77


KMC-02, UttarDhoka,
Lazimpat, Nepal

+977–01–4445751 / 4445754

[email protected] [email protected]

Terms of Use Disclaimer
© NepalNews. 2021 All rights reserved. | Nepal's First News Portal