Randolph leads Grizzles past Jazz

Don Wade, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Since All-Star center Marc Gasol went down with a knee injury, the Memphis Grizzlies have missed his playmaking ability every bit as much as his scoring, rebounding and defense. Which is saying a lot, especially given that last season Gasol was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Monday night in a 104-94 victory over the Utah Jazz at the FedExForum, the Grizzlies had a game that would have made Gasol the facilitator proud. They handed out 24 assists with just seven turnovers and leading the way was Gasol's partner in the paint, power forward Zach Randolph, who had seven assists to go with his 13th double-double in the last 17 games as he scored 22 points with 10 rebounds.
"Everybody was a playmaker tonight," said point guard Mike Conley, who had five assists. "It was contagious."
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Grizzlies shot the ball well, too, and especially from long range as they hit 11 of 20 attempts (55 percent). Memphis was making just 4.69 3-pointers per game, the second-worst rate in the NBA.
"They haven't been shooting the 3-pointers well," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They made them tonight against us."
The Grizzlies (12-15) took a 77-71 lead into the fourth quarter as reserve guard Jerryd Bayless hit two 3-pointers to account for six of Memphis' last eight points in the quarter. Utah had the lead down to three points, 74-71, with 44 seconds to play when Jazz guard John Lucas knocked down a 3-pointer.
Bayless stayed hot at the start of the fourth, dropping in another 3-pointer, a floater in the lane and then another 3-pointer as Memphis went up 89-75 with 8:43 to play.
The Jazz (8-23) never got closer than 10 points after that.
Bayless scored all 17 of his points in the second half and shot 4-for-5 from 3-point range. Guard/forward Mike Miller was 3-for-3 behind the arc and scored 15 points. Forward Jon Leuer finished with 11 points, and center Kosta Koufos added 10 points.
The Grizzlies won a second straight game for the first time since sweeping a four-game West Coast road trip in mid-November.
"We made shots, which was nice," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said.
Memphis shot 47 percent from the floor (39-for-83) and had a 42-38 edge on points in the paint. Utah shot 46.7 percent from the field (35-for-75) and 45.8 percent from 3-point range (11-for-24).
Guard Trey Burke and forward Richard Jefferson led the Jazz in scoring with 18 points each. Guard Gordon Hayward just missed a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. He also had four blocks. Center Derrick Favors added 16 points for Utah, which finished its five-game road trip with a 2-3 record.
"A lot of people didn't even expect that out of us," Burke said of the road trip. "I think we could have gotten us another win either here or in Atlanta. Those are two good teams ... we just have to continue to get better and learn from our mistakes."
Memphis' reserves outscored the Jazz's bench 51-18. Forward James Johnson, a recent signee out of the NBA Development League, played in his fourth game and made his second start. He scored nine points Monday, but more important were the five rebounds and four blocks in 33 very active minutes.
"I just want to bring some intensity, bring some athleticism," Johnson said.
Johnson did that on the blocks and a put-back dunk that had the crowd buzzing.
"He has some bounce, goes flying in the air," Joerger said. "Those are the plays he needs to make. (Some) players will come in and try to show you their whole package. What they end up doing is showing you what they can't do. James hasn't done that. I think his (previous) experience in the NBA has helped. He has been on point."
NOTES: Memphis broke a five-game losing streak with a 95-87 road win over the New York Knicks on Saturday. The Grizzlies owned a 56-29 rebounding edge, the largest rebounding advantage by one NBA team over another this season. ... Grizzlies SF Tayshaun Prince (left knee soreness) missed his third consecutive game. Every Memphis starter missed time due to injury this season. C Kosta Koufos and G/F Mike Miller are the only Grizzlies who appeared in every game. ... Entering Monday's game, the Jazz were seventh in the NBA in 3-point percentage for December at 38.6 percent (80-for-207). Their best game: Dec. 2 vs. the Houston Rockets, when they went 10 of 17 behind the arc, 58.8 percent. ... Jazz assistant coach Sidney Lowe was the head coach of the Grizzlies for just over two seasons (2000-2003). He was the team's first coach after the move from Vancouver.

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