By CLAY BAILEY, Associated Press
Utah coach Quin Snyder didn’t have a lot to say to his team at halftime, despite a 15-point deficit. A little video session, but no harsh words or motivational speeches.
The low-key tactic worked well.
The Jazz came out quickly in the third, eventually erased the Memphis Grizzlies’ double-digit lead and pulled away for a 103-94 victory Friday night to snap a two-game skid. Bojan Bogdanovic was key in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his 33 points in the game.
“I’m glad we played the second half like we did, opposed to the first,” Snyder said. “We came out competitive and threw ourselves into the defense. We were struggling offensively in the first half and forgot about that and the offense came.”
Bogdanovic matched his season-high scoring mark, going 12 of 20 from the field, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Donovan Mitchell added 20 points despite a tough shooting night (7 of 22) and Rudy Gobert had 13 points, 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks.
In the fourth, when the Jazz would routinely look to Mitchell, their leading scorer, they relied on Bogdanovic.
“It shows how unselfish we are, especially Donovan,” Bogdanovic said. “Our best player, he’s supposed to take last shots in the last couple of minutes. … He told me to take the last shots.”
Mitchell added that “when it gets to a point, (Bogdanovic) locks in and knocks shots down. It’s easy to just kind of run plays and give him the ball as much as possible.”
Jonas Valanciunas led Memphis with 22 points and 17 rebounds, and Brandon Clarke scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. The Grizzlies have lost six straight.
Memphis saw a 15-point halftime lead evaporate quickly as the Jazz scored the first 12 points of the third quarter, the Grizzlies going almost four minutes without scoring against a much more active Jazz defense.
The run would reach 18-2, allowing Utah to retake the lead. The game would level into a tight contest the rest of the third.
“We didn’t do what we need to do in the third quarter because we let them come out and punch us early, and we didn’t respond,” Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. said.
Memphis would still be close near the midway point of the fourth, but couldn’t keep pace with Bogdanovic and the rest of the Jazz.
“We have to play all four quarters like we did the first half,” said rookie guard Ja Morant, who was limited to 11 points making only four of his 13 shots. “It helped us get out to our biggest lead. …We just have to do that all four quarters.”
Jazz: Mitchell had scored at least 25 points in six of his previous eight games before recording 20 against Memphis. … F Ed Davis, who missed the previous 12 games with a left fibula fracture, played for the first time since Nov. 3, grabbing five rebounds despite not scoring. …Bogdanovic also had 33 points on Nov. 8 against Milwaukee.
Grizzlies: Valanciunas recorded his 11th double-double and his third straight. … Memphis, which led by 15 in the game, blew a double-digit lead for the sixth time this season, most in the NBA, and the 15-point lead was the largest blown by Memphis this season. …The starting backcourt of Morant and Dillon Brooks managed only 11 points each, converting 9 of 27 shots. …Jackson had four blocks in the game, the final one marking the 100th block in his first 75 NBA games.
Both teams wore their throwback jerseys — the Jazz in the purple, snow-capped mountain version; Memphis in it teal-based ones with a large G and S in Grizzlies. The team logos from about 20 years ago were used on the scoreboard and the Grizzly head with the claws around the red ball was the center court emblem.
CONLEY ON THE BOARDS
Former Grizzlies guard Mike Conley has struggled in his shooting this season as he adapts to his new team, but his rebounding numbers are up. He had seven rebounds, including a pair off the offensive glass. “I couldn’t make a shot, so I had to do something,” Conley said.
Jazz: At Toronto on Sunday.
Grizzlies: At Minnesota on Sunday.
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