Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Memphis Grizzlies forward Marreese Speights battles Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (24) for a rebound in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, April 14, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies defeated the Jazz 103-98. (AP Photo/Nikki Boertman)
Utah Jazz fall to Memphis Grizzlies as postseason looms

Utah has only five games to salvage postseason dreams.

First Published Apr 14 2012 11:09 pm • Last Updated Apr 15 2012 09:14 pm

Memphis, Tenn. • Al Jefferson has been near-silent after the Jazz’s last two losses. He dresses slowly, speaks softly and limits his answers to a few words before quietly exiting Utah’s locker room.

Jefferson doesn’t need to talk. He knows exactly what’s happening. The Jazz’s season is becoming harder to save at the same time Utah’s running out of games.

At a glance

Storylines Late offense goes cold

In short » The Jazz blow a fourth-quarter lead and fall 103-98 to Memphis on Saturday.

Key stat » Grizzlies reserve guard O.J. Mayo unloads for 17 points in the final period.

Key moment » Mayo gets 10 straight points after Utah led 78-73.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Utah fell 103-98 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday at FedEx Forum.

The Jazz have only five contests left to keep Jefferson’s vision alive.

Since training camp for the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign started, all Utah’s starting center has wanted to do is make the playoffs. His goal has been the same as second-year coach Tyrone Corbin’s. Corbin’s focus has been in line with everyone from Paul Millsap and Gordon Hayward to Jamaal Tinsley and Utah General Manager Kevin O’Connor.

Develop youth while winning games. Stay in contention. Get to the postseason. See what happens.

The Jazz (31-30) will now fight uphill without momentum while their season hangs in the balance.

Despite falling to Memphis, Utah remained in 10th place in the Western Conference. But the Jazz are two games behind Houston and Denver, which are tied for seventh. In addition, Utah’s desire for a 5-6 seed in the playoffs — which would prevent the Jazz from likely facing Oklahoma City or San Antonio in the first round — has nearly been erased.

"Of course it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating losing, regardless," said Jefferson, who scored a co-team-high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

He added: "We’re playing well; we’ve just got to finish games off. It doesn’t matter how well we play if we don’t win."


story continues below
story continues below

One night after a frustrating setback during a loss to a 17-win New Orleans team, Utah was in a perfect position to immediately erase the Hornets defeat, put away the Grizzlies (35-24) and finish its final extended road trip of the season 2-1.

With starters Devin Harris, Hayward, Millsap and Jefferson playing like their season was at stake and Corbin coaching for the kill, Utah held a 78-72 lead with 11 minutes and 24 seconds to go.

Then the Jazz again froze down the stretch. Utah’s offense stagnated, while Memphis reserve guard O.J. Mayo honored New Orleans guard Eric Gordon.

Just like Gordon finished off the Jazz on Friday, Mayo destroyed Utah on Saturday. His fourth-quarter numbers were staggering: 17 points, 3 of 4 behind the 3-point line, six made free throws and 10 consecutive Grizzlies points from 10:09 to 8:08.

It was 78-73 Jazz before Mayo unloaded.

It was 82-80 Memphis after he was done.

"Coach [Lionel Hollins] diagramed some good plays for the pick-and-roll," Mayo said. "Guys set good screens and set me up in order to make shots. It was good."

Rudy Gay was even better at the end. He closed down the Jazz’s night, picking up six fourth-period points on the way to a game-high 26 and team-high 12 rebounds.

The Grizzlies had the outside shooting Utah has lacked all season — Memphis hit 7 of its 13 3-point attempts — and a star who could create and finish down the stretch.

The Jazz had another hard-to-swallow loss, washing away three quarters of playoff-like execution.

"That’s where we are now," Corbin said. "Every play is intense, and every game is intense because it means a great deal to us and our livelihood, and whether we can stay in the playoff race or fall behind."

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.