Grizzlies Top Jazz for Fourth Straight Win
Memphis 80, Utah 72
SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 19 (Ticker) -- Mike Miller and the Memphis Grizzlies would not let rookie Deron Williams stop their hot start.
Miller scored 18 points as the Grizzlies continued the best start in franchise history with an 80-72 triumph over the shorthanded Jazz, who got 21 points and a season-high 10 assists from Williams.
"I don't want to pat ourselves on the back because it's too early," said Damon Stoudamire, who signed a four-year deal with the Grizzlies in the offseason. "(But) I think all of our new guys are really blending in here. ... Everybody's pulling for one another and that's the biggest thing in the NBA. We have been able to play well over the course of the first 10 games."
Williams kept Utah within striking distance until the final minute until Stoudamire, who has a history of making big shots in the Delta Center, drained a clutch 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down and 46 seconds left to play to give Memphis a 78-72 lead.
"I've made a lot of big shots in this building throughout my career," Stoudamire said. "Obviously, Utah had a lot of momentum and that was a big momentum-breaker for us."
Miller made all five of his shots in the third quarter - including two 3-pointers - to give the Grizzlies a 64-55 advantage heading into the final period.
He added a free throw and jumper early in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 67-58 with 9:52 remaining and Bobby Jackson made a layup two minutes later to give Memphis an 11-point cushion.
"Mike Miller was huge once he got going," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said.
The third overall pick in the draft, Williams nearly singlehandedly rallied the Jazz, recording eight points and an assist in a 10-2 spurt that cut the deficit to 71-68 with 4:24 to play.
"We made a big run getting (the deficit) down to three, but we couldn't capitalize and get over the hump," Williams said. "We just couldn't get stops for a long period of time. They just spread us out and played good basketball."
"I was very impressed with Williams," Fratello said. "He's going to be a terrific player for a lot of years in this league."
However, Shane Battier converted a three-point play on the other end to start a game-closing 9-4 run for the Grizzlies.
Williams led one final charge for Utah, hitting a layup and finding Matt Harpring for a basket that made it 75-72 with just over a minute left before Stoudamire's dagger 3-pointer 24 seconds later.
"It did get really close," Gasol said. "They made some big shots, they made their run," Gasol said. "Luckily we (had) that three that Damon made when the shot clock was running down, and that gave us a lot of life."
One of the most turnover-prone teams in the NBA this season, the Jazz committed just 10 on Saturday - with only one credited to Williams, who played 43 minutes. But with the continued absence of Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer and Keith McLeod, Utah once again struggled to score,
Harpring and Mehmet Okur each scored 14 points for the Jazz, shot 37 percent (30-of-81) from the field.
"We handled the ball pretty well for the most part," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We came down and I thought we just got a little anxious to shoot the ball. (But) we can't win with three or four guys playing hard. We have to have everybody playing hard."
Eddie Jones scored all nine of his points in the first half to help the Grizzlies build a 43-35 lead.