After opening a four-game homestand with a last-second loss, the injury-riddled Utah Jazz look to regain their home-court dominance on Wednesday night when they face a Memphis Grizzlies team that owns a winning record in Salt Lake City since 2004-05.
Utah (9-6) had won 14 straight and 33 of 34 at EnergySolutions Arena before Larry Hughes hit a last-second 22-footer to give the Chicago Bulls a 101-100 win Monday. The Jazz’s previous home loss was 106-95 to the Los Angeles Lakers on March 20.
“We needed a stop somewhere in that last span,” said Ronnie Price, who scored 11 points and tied Andrei Kirilenko with a team-best eight assists. “We kept trading baskets and you can’t win games trading baskets, especially when they hit the last one.”
Deron Williams, third in the NBA in assists last season with 10.5 per game, missed his seventh straight game - and 13th of the season - with a sprained left ankle suffered in the preseason. He said he is close to returning, although he’s still not at 100 percent.
Paul Millsap started his second straight game for Carlos Boozer, who has missed three in a row with a strained left quadriceps tendon, and had his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Mehmet Okur, who had 26 points and nine rebounds Monday, led Utah with 23 points in a 103-94 win at Memphis (4-10) on Saturday.
Since missing five games to be in Turkey with his ailing father, Okur is averaging 15.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and shooting 56.8 percent from the field as Utah has split four games.
Kyle Korver, who is shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range, has missed three straight games with a sprained right wrist. Having him on the bench against Memphis could be a major weapon for coach Jerry Sloan, as Korver has averaged 20.4 points and hit 60.0 percent (15-of-25) from beyond the arc in his last five games against the Grizzlies.
While Utah looks to get healthy at home, Memphis tries to snap a three-game losing streak away from FedEx Forum. The Grizzlies, though, have won four of their last seven visits to Salt Lake City.
On Monday, the Grizzlies dropped their third straight - and seventh in eight games - with a 94-81 loss to San Antonio. Memphis trailed by only five at halftime, but was outscored 31-19 in the third quarter.
“Each night is a little bit different,” said Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni, whose team is 0-9 this season when outscored in the third. “Tonight, I don’t think it was in the beginning, but I think it was more towards the end of the third quarter where we had some defensive breakdowns. They made threes, and all of a sudden, there is a big lead.”
O.J. Mayo did his best to keep Memphis in the game, scoring 23 of his team-high 26 points in the final 24 minutes.
Mayo went 10-of-21 from the field against the Spurs, but the Grizzlies made just 39.0 percent of their shots - the sixth time they’ve shot less than 40 percent in a game this season.
Memphis is near the bottom of the NBA in shooting at 43.1 percent, while Utah is among the league leaders at 48.0.