Postgame Report: Jazz take a 3-1 series lead over the Grizzlies with a 120-113 win
Key Stat of the Night
- Ja Morant led the way for the Grizzlies with 23 points
Key Run of the Night
- De’Anthony Melton helped spark a 17-6 Grizzlies run in the fourth quarter to pull Memphis within two points with 5:30 remaining, but Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic hit two quick 3-pointers to start a 10-2 Jazz run, extending the lead back to 10 and ending a Grizzlies comeback bid
The Utah Jazz picked up another hard-fought win over the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Donovan Mitchell turned in another strong offensive night with 30 points and eight assists. Jordan Clarkson contributed 24 points and six rebounds off the bench. Rudy Gobert poured in 17 points and eight rebounds.
Ja Morant led the way for the Grizzlies with 23 points, 12 assists and six rebounds. Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson Jr. added 21 points each and De’Anthony Melton, a key part of the Grizzlies late push in the fourth quarter, finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
The Grizzlies started the game flying as Kyle Anderson found Jackson Jr. for the alley-oop on the first play of the game, but the Jazz responded from the 3-point line on the other end and put together a 15-6 run over two minutes to take the lead. The reserve combination of Grayson Allen and Desmond Bane put the Grizzlies back on top with a pair of threes before Clarkson and the Jazz reserves punched back to get the 34-31 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Grizzlies pulled back to tie the game with a 3-pointer from Allen, but Mitchell’s scoring put the Jazz on a 13-4 run to build a lead until Morant scored two quick buckets before halftime to pull the Grizzlies within five, 59-54. Mitchell led all scorers with 14 points and four assists in the half while Morant scored 13 to lead the Grizzlies.
The Jazz stretched their lead to double-digits with an 11-2 run in the third quarter and spent the rest of the period absorbing every Grizzlies comeback attempt. The Jazz scored 41 points in the third quarter to claim a 100-87 lead going into the final period.
Melton helped spark a 17-6 Grizzlies run to pull within two with 5:30 remaining, but Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovich hit two quick 3-pointers on a 10-2 Jazz run to extend the lead back to 10 with two minutes left.
The Grizzlies will try to avoid elimination as they travel to Utah for Game 5 on Wednesday.
On what swung the game in Utah's favor:They made more plays than we did. I thought we got great looks throughout stretches of the game, and every time we missed a wide-open look, either a three or a layup, they just scored right away on the other end. Give them a lot of credit – that’s why they’re the best team in the NBA. Said it all along – if we don’t take advantage of an opportunity, they’re going to make you pay. A couple of breakdowns here and there throughout the game, but so proud of our guys’ fight. Unbelievable game plan discipline. They just made more plays than us. We were right there, another game right there in the fourth quarter. Great fight. Just came up a little short.
On Utah's ability to bounce back, and whether the Jazz are resilient in a frustrating way:They’ve done it the entire season. It’s nothing to be frustrated about when we’re giving great fight against the best team in the NBA. They just have a response for everything. We’re giving it everything we’ve got. We’re competing at the highest level. We’re trying to play our best basketball, and they’re trying to play their best basketball too. So I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating – it’s actually encouraging that with the group that we have, against the group that they have, we’re going toe to toe. It’s phenomenal to watch. You obviously wish that it would swing, but our effort is there, our discipline was there tonight. The looks that we got, we take. We’ll watch the film. Obviously you’re going to want some things to be a little bit different in terms of execution. You’re never going to play a perfect game, and you have to play a perfect game against this team. And we are so close. Two games in a row, it comes down to the fourth quarter, last couple of minutes. I would not say I’m frustrated; I’m so encouraged. All we’ve got to focus on is to go and win one game. We’ve been great on the road. We’ve won there before. It’s going to be their hardest game of the year to win for them. Our focus is to go out there and keep competing and fighting and give it our best shot and play our best basketball.
On the play of the bench, specifically 3-point shooting:Yeah, I mean, we’re getting more attempts. The ball’s moving a little bit better. Hopefully we’re moving the ball even better in the next game and we’re getting the same looks and knocking them down. Our bench was huge tonight. JJ (Jaren Jackson Jr.) had tons of great looks. Ja (Morant) had great looks. The energy and the ball was moving better. We just have to keep taking it up a notch to break through and get another victory. So the bench was huge the last two games, different guys stepping up. We’re going to need that effort again Wednesday night.
On the rotation for tonight's game and the adjustments made:It’s something that we planned out and discussed as a staff after Game 3. You know, just trying to get more shooting out there. Spacers, obviously, to play small. Trying to create opportunities for our guys as much as possible, advantages on the offensive end. And if we can and we’ve got confidence in these guys defensively, we’re making it tough. I know they scored 120, but we’re making it as tough as possible on these guys, trying not to give them free looks. But definitely in conversation with our group, and we’ll figure it out after watching the film what’s best for us going into Game 5.
On Jaren Jackson Jr.'s effort tonight and how important it was for Jackson’s confidence:It’s great development, it’s great confidence-boosting. I said before the game to somebody, his aggressiveness on both ends of the floor has been phenomenal the last two games. To see him knock down some shots tonight and have that confidence shooting from the 3-point line. But (it’s) his drive and finishing game with physicality, too. Defensively, some great contests. Rebounding as well. These are huge steps for him. I know he’s still trying to find his way back, getting back to his best shape and all that stuff. But he’s doing everything in his power to give us everything he’s got. I’m just really proud of his effort, and I know he’s going to be better in Game 5.
On being encouraged by the play of this group:You must have been in the locker room – that’s exactly what I said to the team afterwards. I said, ‘(Keep your) Heads up. So proud of the fight. We’re right there. We’re literally going toe-to-toe against the best team in the NBA.” We’re doing a lot of things, and compared to the previous game, we’re doing more. We’ve got to find ways to do more. Our mentality, as we’ve done all season long, is continue to fight, be the most competitive team, the most together team. And I’ve got the most faith in this group. When we go out and get on a plane tomorrow, we’ll be ready for Game 5. We’re going to play our best basketball of the season, these guys do it all season long, and these moments right here are firsts for so many of these guys. Just stay together, stay the course, stay in the fight. It’s huge for our growth, huge for our future. But the job’s not done yet. We’ve still got a lot more work to do. Our series isn’t over – we’ve just got to focus on winning one game and bringing basketball back here to Memphis.
On the mentality of do or die games:Every game for us is a do or die game. That's just the mentality we have. Obviously, there is a little bit more intensity during these games late, especially when the series is like this. You just have to be locked in. A lot of plays are going to be flying at you but keep that same intensity. We know what they're doing. We got to just execute. That's what we're going to do.
On things to improve on after the first four games:We've got to have a better start for sure. We can't always be trying to come back needing crazy runs because they're a good team and they execute really well, so we just have to have better starts. Throughout the game, just continue to rebound, continue to talk and help each other out so we can cover for each other if anyone makes a mistake. Be there for each other. Just keep battling in close games. It’s not like we're not there. Just got to do more.
On feeling more encouragement than frustration being down 3-1:We just have to stay level headed. It doesn't matter if we win or lose, we're going to have the same mentality. We're going to go out there and fight. We're going to go out there and battle like we always got a chip on our shoulder mentality. We just keep going. It wouldn't matter the result. It's a long series.
On keeping the 3-pointers going:For sure. I am trying to get my touch anyway I can. Just making sure I'm getting my wrist back and making sure I’m sticking my landing, all that stuff on my shot. They're big in the playoffs. Props to all their snipers. They were hitting shots today and the other side they were hitting shots too. We just got to do more. Keep hitting shots. Our point guards will find us. We're taught to let that thing go.
On Utah attacking from the 3-point line:They're a good team. They've got confidence. They've been playing with each other for a long time. They have a little bit more playoff experience than us. They've got a good feel right now. So credit to them for working on their game.
On getting the open looks:I think that my teammates told me to keep being aggressive, honestly. I feel like I’m a game-changer, and when I get out there, I just have to find a way to impact the game. That’s what all of my teammates tell me, to go impact the game. I'm just going out there with the same mentally. Be aggressive, stay confident and change the game.
On Coaches’ speech in the locker room:Like everyone saw, we are right there. We have a lot of fight on this team. They’re the number one seed, and they are not going to back down. We just have to continue to fight. Take this one game at a time. We’re going back to Utah. We already stole one in Utah, so we just have to keep the same mindset, and keep pushing along and fighting no matter what.
On Jazz’s counter run:That’s what makes the Jazz such a great team. They are going to adjust on the adjustments. We all said it in the locker room. One little mistake and they were going to make you pay for it. We just ran into a really disciplined team, and we understand that we have to limit our mistakes. The more we limit them, the better chance we have to win the game.
On his 4th quarter run:For me, I’m always going to be aggressive. I just have to remind myself to stay aggressive no matter what. My team needs it. Everybody needs it. Going forward, we just have to come up with the dub, honestly. It wasn’t enough. We understand that it’s wins and losses. We just have to figure out a way to come out with this win at the end of the day.
On the pressure the Jazz presents:I wouldn’t necessarily say more pressure, but we just have to be more alert. I understand that we have to get those guys off of the line. Everybody on that team loves shooting the threes, and they are trying to break records shooting threes. We just have to understand who they are as a team and take away what they like to do most. At this point, it is shooting threes and pick-and-roll. We just have to understand to move them off of the 3-point line and go from there.
On being road warriors:I think so. I think we all understand that we like to quiet other crowds. We like to go there and show who we are as a team. We understand that we have to make a name for ourselves, and we’re going to continue to fight no matter what. We don’t care who’s in the crowd. We are going to step up and fight and try to put everyone on notice.
- Ja Morant posted a double-double with a team-high 23 points (8-21 FG) and 12 assists to go with six rebounds. This was Morant’s first career double-double in a playoff game.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. shot 9-of-18 from the field with career playoff-high 21 points and six rebound in 26 minutes.
- Jonas Valanciunas notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting.
- Dillon Brooks added 21 points, four rebounds and three assists with one steal. Memphis entered the night 38-16 in the last two seasons when Brooks scored 20+ points.
- De'Anthony Melton scored all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter. He grabbed five rebounds and dished two assists on 5-for-9 shooting from the field.