SALT LAKE CITY (AP)Lauri Markkanen and Kelly Olynyk each scored 23 points, including a pair of late 3-pointers, to lift the Utah Jazz to a 124-123 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, who were playing without Ja Morant.
On their final possession, the Jazz were leading 124-123 and nearly lost the ball twice but it bounced to Markkanen near the basket and he missed a contested layup.
”When I missed that, I realized I should have just held onto it,” Markkanen said since the shot clock was off.
Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins was disappointed that it even came to that last-second play.
”You got to give the Jazz credit. They outcompeted us for 48 minutes,” Jenkins said.
Jordan Clarkson scored 21 points and Colin Sexton had 19 points in his first start of the season for Utah (5-2).
Both teams shot better than 50% and the final minutes saw big baskets back and forth, one after another.
”We’re playing well, sharing the ball, getting out and running. But we’re going to have to guard better if we want to win like we want to (win),” Bane said.
After Bane pushed the Memphis lead to 118-113, Markkannen hit a 3, Olynyk made a layup and a 3, and then Beasley sank a three-pointer that brought the entire bench across the court to mob him.
Bane had 32 points and Dillon Brooks had 30 points in his third game of the season to help make up for Morant’s 32.6 scoring average. He missed the game with a non-COVID illness.
Tyus Jones added a season-high 23 points and 10 assists.
The Jazz were also shorthanded as Mike Conley rested, Walker Kessler had an illness, and Simone Fontecchio and Rudy Gay are in health and safety protocols.
Every time down the court, the Jazz had a different playmaker and a different look.
”We don’t really have that one guy that is . making all the plays. So when it’s kind of chaotic and you’re moving the ball and your body and creating confusion for the defense . that’s probably when we’re at our best,” Olynyk said.
The Grizzlies relied on big runs throughout the game, including a 12-2 surge to open the fourth quarter. Memphis applied tight defensive pressure and went hard to the basket, tallying all their points in the paint or from the line.
David Roddy capped a 15-0 spurt with a 3-pointer to give the Grizzlies an 85-79 lead with 4:00 left in the third quarter.
The only other loss so far for Memphis this season was a 137-96 drubbing at Dallas.
In the final 1:31 of the half, Jarred Vanderbilt and Olynyk combined to scored 10 points to cap a 38-point second quarter as the Jazz shot 15 of 21 from the field. Utah led 62-54 at the half.
Most experts predicted the Jazz to be at the bottom of the league but relying on hustle and timely shotmaking, they have surprised some of the league’s top teams and been competitive in all but one.
CLARKSON THE PLAYMAKER
Clarkson has always been known as a shooter, but he has expanded his role in his ninth NBA season.
”Ever since I got moved to the bench in the past however many seasons, I have just been a gun. I just shoot. But now I am in the position to make plays,” Clarkson said.
Besides having another game with six assists, he also has been in the unfamiliar role of finishing games this season.
”I have not begged him to be a playmaker,” Utah coach Will Hardy said. ”I’ve told him that if the game tells him to shoot 10 times in a row then he should shoot 10 times in a row. But I just think he has more to offer us on that end and we saw some big passes down the stretch from him tonight.”
Grizzlies: The Grizzlies went on an 18-2 run in the first quarter, scoring 13 points on seven Utah turnovers. . Memphis had no second-chance points in the first half. . The Grizzlies shot 56.8 percent from the field in the loss.
Jazz: Vanderbilt had a career-high seven assists. . Nickeil Alexander-Walker set a new season-high with 11 points. . The Jazz went 19-for-44 from beyond the arc.
Grizzlies: Play again at Utah on Monday.
Jazz: Rematch with Grizzlies on Monday.
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