Kirilenko Wills Jazz Over Grizzlies in OT
Utah 105, Memphis 102
SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 26 (Ticker) -- Andrei Kirilenko made one more key play than Pau Gasol down the stretch.
Kirilenko scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Utah Jazz posted a thrilling 105-102 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Gasol was fouled on the ensuing possession, but made just 1-of-2 from the line. After Utah's Keith McLeod knocked down two free throws for a three-point cushion, Kirilenko stole the inbounds pass to seal the win for the Jazz, who ended a four-game losing streak to the Grizzlies.
"We didn't take them lightly," Memphis forward Mike Miller said. "They just played hard and we made a lot of mistakes. You can't do that against a well-coached team on their home court."
Entering the final minute of overtime, Gasol was 11-of-11 from the free-throw line and the Grizzlies had connected on 36-of-38 free throws as a team. But Gasol only hit 2-of-4 from the line at the end of the game, including the miss on the front end of his two shots with 3.9 seconds to go - a shot that hit the rim three times before bouncing off the front of the basket.
Mehmet Okur scored 23 points, including a big 3-pointer to put Utah ahead, 102-100, with 68 seconds remaining in overtime. McLeod added a career-high 22 points and Matt Harpring finished with 20 off the bench for the Jazz.
"We had a lot of guys play well," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "I hope they can learn something from that tonight."
It was the first time the Jazz had four players score 20 or more points in a game since February 8, 1996, when Karl Malone, John Stockton, David Benoit and Jeff Hornacek all eclipsed 20 in a double-overtime loss at Dallas.
In regulation, Damon Stoudamire appeared to hurt the Jazz when he buried a 3-pointer for a 93-90 advantage with 19 seconds remaining. However, Utah responded six seconds later when McLeod made a tough layup to cut the lead to one.
After Stoudamire's two free throws put Memphis on top, 95-92, Utah called a timeout and Kirilenko answered with a deep 3-pointer with two seconds left to send the contest into overtime.
"It was a good three," Kirilenko said. "It put us in a great position to have a chance to play overtime. In the timeout, Deron (Williams) just told me, 'Andrei, look at me. I'm going to pass it back.' So I had a good position for the shot."
It was Kirilenko's first game back after back spasms forced him to miss the team's previous three games, all Jazz losses.
"Our players feed off of him a lot," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "I think the fact that he was back and energetic was good for our team."
Gasol led the Grizzlies with 32 points on 10-of-14 shooting and 11 rebounds. Eddie Jones added 25 points with three 3-pointers after missing the previous two games with an ankle sprain. Miller chipped in 14 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Trailing by 18 points with 3:46 in the third quarter, Utah used stifling defense to go on a 20-0 surge to take a 78-76 lead with 7:08 left in the fourth quarter. The Jazz held the Grizzlies without a basket from 5:39 remaining in the third until 5:59 to go in the fourth.
Memphis was only 16-of-53 from the field in the second half and overtime, after shooting 18-of-27 (67 percent) in the first half.
"It's a terrible loss for us," Jones said. "To come out and play so well in the first half and then play well the first nine minutes of the third quarter and have a total collapse defensively and offensively. It's just one of those games where we have to be really upset with ourselves. There's no way you let a team come back from 18 down and make it a game."
The Jazz used their advantage in the low post to mount their comeback, finishing with a 49-29 rebounding advantage, which included 20 on the offensive glass, compared to only five by the Grizzlies.