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Utah Jazz's Trey Burke (3) defends against Memphis Grizzlies' Mike Conley (11) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Memphis finds its range to stop Utah Jazz, 104-94

First Published Dec 23 2013 05:37 pm • Last Updated Dec 26 2013 03:33 pm

Memphis, Tenn. • The comeback was almost complete.

After trailing by as much as 12 earlier in the game, Jazz point guard John Lucas’ third-quarter 3-pointer had a Utah team playing its final night of a five-game road trip within a single possession.

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But that’s as close as it would get.

As the Memphis Grizzlies set up on their half of the floor, the ball made its way to Zac Randolph on the right block. A trio of Jazz defenders swarmed, and backup point guard Jerryd Bayless was left standing all alone behind the arc.

Coming into Monday night’s game, no team in the NBA had taken fewer 3-pointers than the Memphis Grizzlies, and only five teams were shooting a worse percentage (33.8) from behind the arc.

"They made them tonight," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said.

Bayless’ shot from 3 was true, starting a 19-9 Memphis run over the next seven minutes, pushing the Grizzlies to a 104-94 win over the Jazz.

"Zac got going a little bit so we had to make sure we came off a couple times to try to take the ball out of his hands. He made the right pass and they made shots," Corbin said afterward.

Memphis’ 11 3-pointers were a season high for the club and the Grizzlies needed only 20 attempts to get there.

The loss, Utah’s 23rd on the season, overshadowed one of Gordon Hayward’s best performances. Even with All-Defensive Teamer Tony Allen draped on him for most of the night, the fourth-year wing stuffed the stat sheet. Hayward scored 16 points, hauled in 11 rebounds, handed out nine assists and blocked four shots.


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"I thought he did a good job of just giving everything he had," Corbin said. "He gave us a chance in the ballgame."

"Not enough, though," Hayward said. "Not enough for a win."

Hayward was one of four Jazz starters to finish with at least 16 points. Rookie point guard Trey Burke followed up his 20-point night in Charlotte with 18 points and five assists against the Grizzlies. Richard Jefferson scored 18 as well, and forward Derrick Favors notched 16 points and six rebounds.

For Memphis, Randolph had a game-high 22 points and former Jazz big man Kosta Koufos had 10.

But the Grizzlies’ bench proved to be the difference.

Bayless hit four 3-pointers in all, en route to 17 points, and Mike Miller hit all three of his triples as he racked up 15 points.

In total, the Memphis bench outscored Utah’s 51-18.

"Coach has been harping on us on consistency, and what he says is right," Jefferson said. "We can’t have a little lull. Great teams can have it. Good teams can have it. We can’t afford those 3- to 4-minute lulls where we’re not taking good shots or we have defensive lapses. It’s showing right now."

With the loss, Utah finishes its five-game swing with two wins. But having won four of their last seven on the road, the Jazz say they’re seeing signs of progress.

"I think this is the longest road trip that I’ve been on since I’ve been here," Hayward said. "You miss home for sure. I thought we played all right for the most part. We had games where we didn’t play so well but we bounced back. That’s a positive sign for us. So we’re getting better as a team and we’re improving. That’s all you can ask for."

"I think we did pretty well," Burke said of the team’s road trip. "We were 2-3. A lot of people didn’t even expect that out of us."

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