Grizzlies end 11-game skid against Jazz

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—The Memphis Grizzlies just needed to get back home to finally solve the Utah Jazz.

Zach Randolph(notes) had 29 points and 15 rebounds, O.J. Mayo(notes) hit a 21-foot step back jumper with 5.2 seconds left, and the Grizzlies escaped with a 91-89 victory on Friday night.

Marc Gasol(notes) blocked C.J. Miles’(notes) shot on Utah’s last possession, snapping the Jazz’s 11-game winning streak over the Grizzlies. All of the victories in the streak were by double digits, including a 117-94 thrashing in Utah on Wednesday night.

And the Grizzlies remembered that.

“Two days ago, they beat us by 30,” Gasol said. “They were doing the fancy passes. The crowd was getting up and clapping, and we wanted to show them how it feels.”

Randolph added: “They beat us pretty bad in Utah. We wanted to come out and get some revenge.”

Rudy Gay(notes) finished with 22 points and Mayo had 14 for Memphis, which won its fifth straight home game. It is the first time Memphis has won five straight at home since the end of the 2005-06 season.

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said the game-winner was set up for Mayo.

“The play was for O.J. to make whatever play it was, whether he got the shot, got to the basket or passed it,” Hollins said. “He made a big shot himself.”

Mehmet Okur(notes) scored 16 points and Paul Millsap(notes) added 15 for the Jazz. Carlos Boozer(notes) had 13 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out with 37 seconds left. Deron Williams(notes) missed his second straight game with a sprained right wrist. Ronnie Price(notes), starting for Williams at point, had 10 points and a career-high nine assists.

Utah erased a 19-point deficit and took an 87-86 lead on Boozer’s layup with 2:44 left. Mayo, Mike Conley(notes) and Gasol each hit a free throw as Memphis reclaimed the lead before Ronnie Brewer’s(notes) rebound dunk tied it at 89 with 23 seconds left.

“I thought we had a chance to win after having a rough first quarter,” Boozer said. “We fought back, and just couldn’t get the ball to drop for us a couple of times.”

Memphis got out fast, shooting 60 percent in the opening quarter to build a 33-14 lead, its biggest of the game. The Grizzlies forced seven early turnovers and held Utah to 29 percent shooting in the quarter.

Randolph and Gay both had 14 points in the first half.

“We had a terrible first quarter,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “I give them credit because they made us turn the ball over. We had 12 turnovers at halftime, and in the second half, we had somewhat of a chance because we only had three.”

As well as Memphis played in the first quarter, the Grizzlies couldn’t get much going in the second. They missed eight of their first nine shots and committed three straight turnovers against Utah’s physical defense.

That allowed the Jazz to open the period with a 16-5 run, cutting the Memphis advantage under double digits. Kyle Korver(notes) sparked the rally with seven points in the quarter, hitting three of his four shots.

The Grizzlies committed six turnovers in the second quarter and 17 for the game, and their lazy defense allowed the Jazz to pull within 49-40 at intermission.

Korver said after letting Memphis get the early lead “I thought that from then on we played pretty well. But when you put yourself in a hole like that, it’s pretty tough to get back.”

The Jazz defensive pressure continued to cause headaches for Memphis, and Utah pulled within 67-64 late in the third. Okur had 12 points in the period for Utah, including a 3-pointer late in the final seconds of the quarter to cut the Memphis lead to 71-67 entering the final period.

Despite its early success, Memphis ended the night shooting 43 percent, but the Jazz only made 40 percent.

The physical defense from Utah caused a confrontation with 1:21 left in the game, when Boozer fouled Conley hard when the Memphis guard drove to the basket. Conley was on the court trying to recover, and Randolph was jawing at Boozer about the foul. Later, Randolph said he was protecting his teammate. “You foul one of my players hard, I’ve got to say something to you,” Randolph said.

Conley hit one of the two ensuing free throws to tie the game at 87, and the Jazz wouldn’t lead again, although Utah tied it at 89 on Brewer’s dunk before Mayo’s game-winning jumper.

“Utah is one of the most physical teams in the league,” Conley said, shifting his sore body. “They scratch, they claw, they foul, they do a lot of dirty stuff. But that’s they way they play, so you get used to it.”

NOTES: The Grizzlies claimed rookie guard Lester Hudson(notes) off waivers Friday. Hudson, who played high school and community college ball in Memphis, was waived by the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. Hudson was a second-round pick of the Celtics. … Utah’s 14 points in the first quarter was a season-low for a Grizzlies’ opponent. Memphis had not defeated Utah since a 132-130 overtime victory on Jan. 24, 2007. … Gay was given a 3-point field goal with 3:40 left in the third period, but after officials reviewed the play during the next time out, they changed it to a 2-point basket. … Gasol’s block of Miles’ shot was his fifth of the game, tying his career best. … While Boozer recorded his 23rd double-double of the season, the Jazz are 4-14 when he is held under 20 points.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Utah
P. Millsap Paul Millsap
5-8,  15 Pts
3 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Memphis
Z. Randolph Zach Randolph
9-22,  29 Pts
15 Rebs, 0 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Friday, Jan 8