MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Conley had 19 points and nine assists, and Marc Gasol scored 17 points to help lead the Memphis Grizzlies to an 88-79 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.
Zach Randolph finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds as Memphis won its second straight.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 22 points, and George Hill added 15 points. Trey Lyles finished with 11 points, including five in the fourth quarter. Rudy Gobert grabbed 13 rebounds, part of the Jazz outrebounding Memphis 44-37.
The game between two of the NBA’s top three defensive teams was a low-scoring affair from the start. The Grizzlies would push the lead to as many as 17 in the second half, allowing Memphis to hang on for the win despite a late 3-point barrage from Utah, which has lost three of its last four.
Utah, which managed only 35 points in the first half came out of the locker room after intermission with more vigor and a tighter defense than it showed early. And the recipe helped the Jazz pull back within 51-49.
But Memphis closed the third quarter with a 12-2 push, including consecutive 3-pointers from Troy Daniels and Vince Carter in the final 5 seconds of the frame for the Grizzlies biggest lead at that point 63-51 heading to the fourth.
After Rodney Hood collected a 3-pointer for the first score of the final stanza, Memphis scored nine straight points stretching the lead to 17 points.
That was enough to hold on albeit barely enough as the Jazz connected on five 3-pointers in the fourth, eventually getting to 82-77 with 1:10 left.
But Gasol was fouled by Gobert attempting a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down. Gasol converted all three free throws for an 85-77 lead with 25 seconds left.
Memphis used 10 points from Gasol to carry a 42-35 lead into the break. As expected, the two defensive-minded teams contributed to a low-scoring half.
Hayward led Utah at the half with 11 points.
Jazz: While the teams were facing each other for the third time this season, it marked the first time starting point guard George Hill played against Memphis due to previous injuries. ..Hayward has 23 games this season where he has recorded at least 20 points. … The Jazz, who average 13.7 turnovers a game, already had 12 in the first half, ending the game with 18. .The loss was the first time in nine games that Utah lost where both Hill and Hayward played.
Grizzlies: With a layup early in the fourth quarter, Randolph moved passed Grant Hill (17,137) for 89th on the NBA career scoring ladder. …. Memphis had nine 3-pointers, snapping a string of five straight games where they recorded at least 10 baskets outside the arc.
SLOW and GO Zbo
Memphis coach David Fizdale was asked before the game about the play of reserve forward Zach Randolph at 35 years old with past knee troubles. “He’s always had an old man’s game,” Fizdale said with a chuckle. “It wasn’t like he slowed down. He was already playing in preparation for (this).”
FOR THE FIFTH
It may be early to start seed-watching, but the Grizzlies win moved them a half-game ahead of Utah for the fifth spot in the Western Conference. Memphis has won two of the three games thus far in the season series. The two play once more in Utah on Jan. 28.
Jazz: Utah has been on the road since Jan. 1 — a five-game trip that ended Sunday in Memphis. The Jazz return home to face Cleveland on Tuesday — the start of three straight home games against Eastern Conference opponents.
Grizzlies: Memphis, which returned from a four-game West Coast trip for the Utah game Sunday, plays its next two on the road, starting at Oklahoma City on Wednesday.