The Memphis Grizzlies were tired Saturday night, and the weariness manifested itself in some costly mistakes in the final minutes of Utah’s 90-84 win at EnergySolutions Arena.
“That was a tough loss,” Grizzly coach Lionel Hollins said. “We had crucial turnovers and we had nine points in the third quarter. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
The Grizzlies rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final three minutes and got as close as 87-84 before the Jazz’s Al Jefferson missed two free throws.
Memphis went to hot-shooting Jerryd Bayless, but the Jazz double-teamed him at 3-point line and he threw the ball away with 38.4 seconds remaining.
“We were down three and we tried to run a play to get the ball inside,” Hollins said. “We didn’t need a 3; they had just missed two free throws. I probably should have called timeout. So I am kicking myself for that.”
On the other end, Utah’s Mo Williams drove to the free-throw line and dished to Gordon Hayward. He buried a 3-pointer to end Memphis’ rally.
“We doubled the ball when we didn’t need to,” Hollins said. “We scrambled and the ball got swung to Hayward and he made a big 3. ... They played with a lot of energy and we just didn’t play smart down the stretch.”
Bayless finished with a team-high 24 points, including 16 in the second half. He went 9 for 14 from the field, including 4 for 7 from the 3-point line.
“He had a good night,” Hollins said. “He got it going. He was something we needed because we are a little banged up after being on the road for awhile.”
Said Bayless: “We were playing a little bit too slow [in the third quarter]. That’s something we really need to work on — to pick up the pace.”
Besides Bayless, Hollins got only four points — all by Ed Davis — from four others off the bench. Quincy Pondexter, Austin Daye and Jon Leuer were shut out in 19 minutes, though Leuer played only the final four seconds.
Because of the lack of production, Hollins had to use Marc Gasol for 41 minutes, Zach Randolph for 39 minutes and Mike Conley for 37 minutes.
“We didn’t get as much as I would like from the bench,” Hollins said. “Jerryd gave us a boost, but we need more from the other people.”
Still, Memphis went 2-2 on a four-game road trip, including losses at Denver on Friday and in Utah. The Grizzlies lost two straight games for the first time since Feb. 5-6.
“We had our chances,” said Conley said. “They played great and they made plays we needed to make. But we gave ourselves a chance, regardless of our how bodies felt. That’s all we can do.”
Said Bayless: “We wish we could have won tonight but, at the same time, it wasn’t a bad road trip. We would have liked to win these last two, [but] we were involved and could have won them.”