The Memphis Grizzlies threw everything they had at the Jazz. Marc Gasol even unleashed his shoe.
But the reeling Jazz didn’t need to answer with a sole; they finally had heart.
In the first game since Tyrone Corbin questioned the effort of his team in a blowout loss in Oklahoma City, the Jazz answered with a revamped lineup and previously unseen perseverance to beat the Grizzlies, 90-84.
“We needed that,” Randy Foye said. “No matter how we got it.”
Facing the reality of the Jazz (34-32) being knocked completely out of the postseason chase, Corbin tweaked his starting lineup for the second time in 10 days, moving Gordon Hayward from the bench into DeMarre Carroll’s starting spot.
And while all the buzz was about the former lottery pick finally starting, the real story was how he finished.
The Jazz swingman made two 3-pointers in the final 3 minutes, including one with 17.3 seconds remaining to knock the Grizzlies down for good.
Hayward finished with a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds, while playing 38 minutes in front 17,122, the smallest crowd of the season at EnergySolutions Arena.
But as good as it was for Hayward, who made his first start since Nov. 16, it was even better for the Utah Jazz. They moved within half a game of the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth in the Western Conference.
“We know we can do this,” Hayward said. “We’ve done it against the best teams in the league at home. It’s when we go on the road; that’s where we’ve got to pick it up and play like this.”
The Jazz play three of their next four games on the road, where they are just 10-24. After hosting the Knicks on Monday, they will head to Texas for three games.
The Jazz entered Saturday losers of eight of their last 10 games, and their only wins in the last three weeks had come against sub-.500 teams from the Eastern Conference.Next Page »