By JOHN COON, Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY — The Memphis Grizzlies took a page out of their classic playbook, using hard-nosed defense and a controlled pace on offense to top the Utah Jazz.
Mike Conley had 23 points and Marc Gasol finished with 18 points as Memphis earned its first road win of the season, beating the Jazz 92-84 Monday night.
The Grizzlies prevailed despite shooting 36.9 percent (31 of 84).
“It says we’ve got a lot of grit on this team,” Conley said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who’ve got a lot to prove, play with a lot of energy. We play together. We stick together through adversity.”
Gasol added 13 rebounds and four assists before fouling out with 3:41 left. Shelvin Mack added 12 points off the bench for the Grizzlies.
Memphis shut down a Jazz offense that averaged 123.5 points in its first two games.
“You don’t have to beg and plead with these guys to be competitors,” Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “They’re naturally competitive and they got after it tonight.”
Jae Crowder scored 15 points and Donovan Mitchell added 14 for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert had 11 points and 12 rebounds as Utah lost its second straight home game. The Jazz shot just 35.4 percent (29 of 82).
Utah could not find its outside shot and struggled to get an edge inside with Gasol disrupting things around the basket.
“I think that we had spurts where we got stagnant,” Mitchell said. “Just little things. I think that they took us out of what we wanted to do. That can’t happen.”
A trio of 3-pointers from Shelvin Mack and Wayne Seldin fueled a 16-4 run for Memphis in the fourth quarter. Garrett Temple capped the outburst with a layup that gave Grizzlies an 86-70 lead with 3:49 remaining.
Gobert converted a three-point play and Utah whittled its deficit to 88-82 with 50.9 seconds left. The Jazz had a chance to make it a one possession game, but Mitchell missed a 3-pointer with 22.4 seconds left.
It was a fitting end to a sloppy offensive outing for Utah.
“The substance of this team is the fact that we move the ball and work together to get good shots and we didn’t do that tonight,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We got some good looks but consistently we didn’t move the ball like we need to and make the extra pass. We can’t play that way.”
Neither offense generated much in the first half. Memphis shot just 41.5 percent from the floor over the first two quarters. The Jazz connected on 38.6 percent of their shots in the first half.
Utah led by five points twice in the first quarter. The Jazz went up 14-9 on back-to-back baskets by Joe Ingles, and then 22-17 on consecutive dunks from Dante Exum and Derrick Favors.
Memphis pulled ahead early in the second quarter with a 13-4 run. Jaren Jackson fueled the run with a pair of hook shots and a free throw, helping the Grizzlies take a 32-26 lead.
Utah briefly rallied when Mitchell drove for a layup and sank a jumper on back-to-back possessions, giving the Jazz a 41-40 lead. The Grizzlies pulled back in front before halftime and built up a 10-point third quarter lead, going up 66-56 on a pair of free throws from Conley.
Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson, Jr. made his first career NBA start and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Jackson averaged 17.0 points on 55.6 percent shooting in his previous two games off the bench. … Memphis scored 19 points off 15 Jazz turnovers. … Marc Gasol made a season-high three 3-pointers. … Conley added seven rebounds and four assists.
Jazz: Grayson Allen made his NBA debut. The rookie guard totaled seven points and two fouls in 10 minutes. … Joe Ingles was 1-of-7 shooting from 3-point range after hitting 64.7 percent from long distance in his first two games. … Utah finished with a 50-43 advantage on rebounds. … Gobert now has 137 career double-doubles, tying Mehmet Okur for fifth place in Jazz history.
BACK ON BOARDS
Marc Gasol collected as many rebounds against the Jazz as he totaled in his first two games combined. Gasol averaged just 6.5 rebounds in his first two games. His effort on the glass went a long way for the Grizzlies in combating Utah’s frontcourt duo of Gobert and Favors.
“He’s kind of the horse that pulls the plow,” Bickerstaff said. “Time and time again, when called upon, he goes out and does the job.”
FREE THROW ACCURACY
Through three games, Utah is proving to be a consistent team at the line. The Jazz were 18 of 23 (78.3 percent) at the line against Memphis. On the season, Utah is 70 of 90 (77.7 percent) on free throws.
Grizzlies: Visit the Kings on Wednesday
Jazz: Visit the Rockets on Wednesday.
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