Jazz rally fails as Grizzlies claim victory in Salt Lake opener


Mike Conley knows better than anyone how gritty the Memphis Grizzlies can be.

“The Grizzlies are and always have been a hard-working team and have been a hard-working organization,” said Conley, who spent 12 seasons at Memphis, before the series began.

Everyone in Utah now knows that too.

The Grizzlies picked up a win in Game 1 in Salt Lake City, beating the number 1 seed Jazz 112-109 on Sunday night.

“They wanted it and they really worked for this one,” Conley said. “We have to match this energy.”

Anything that could have gone wrong for the Jazz seemed to go wrong in the first game, starting a few hours before the prediction.

Hours before the game started, All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell was ruled out for the team’s playoff game opener. Mitchell went through the shoot in the morning and said he felt ready to act. However, after the team’s coaching staff met in the afternoon, it was determined that Mitchell’s sprained right ankle wasn’t quite ready for the game.

Ultimately, however, it was execution issues that took their toll on the Jazz at Vivint Arena.

“I was happy that we fought back and gutted and are back in the game, but I think we all know we need to perform better,” said Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. “We competed, but we didn’t perform at the level we needed. We lost the game and we understand what we have to do to come out and win Game 2. ”

Among the biggest problems of Jazz in Game 1:

• Give up extra possessions – The Grizzlies have attempted 100 field goals. The Jazz only shot 81. Blame it on the offensive rebounds (the Grizzlies grabbed 16) and too many freebies. The Jazz spun the ball on 16 teams, leading to 15 points for the visitors.

“We gave them way too many easy points in transition after returning the ball,” said Rudy Gobert, who had 11 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. “We know that when they play against our defense in the half court, it’s a different story. By giving them offensive rebounds and turnover, we gave them a chance to get started.

• A Night’s Rest – The Jazz were one of the league’s top 3-point shooter teams during the regular season, knocking down over 40 percent of their eyeballs from depth. On Sunday, they only shot 25.5% (12 of 47) from 3-point territory.

• Points in the paint – Utah was outscored in the paint 62-42 on a night that saw Gobert foul for the first time this season. The All-Star center said he struggled to read what officials called Game 1, which resulted in a foul issue. Still, Gobert said, “Either way, I can’t let this affect me and I can’t lose my focus.”

The Jazz took a 14-point lead early in the second quarter, but Memphis responded with a 27-7 run to end the half. All-star goaltender Ja Morant (26 points) and the Grizzlies led by no less than 17 in the fourth quarter before the Jazz made a final push.

Utah were trailed by 1 after Bojan Bogdanovic had a pair of free throws with 6.4 seconds left. Dillon Brooks of Memphis, a thorn in the Jazz side all night, responded with a layup with 4.3 on the clock. Bogdanovic, who scored 20 of his 29 points in the fourth, had one final shot to send the game into overtime. But its contested 28-foot look only affected the rear panel.

“The last game, we lost the game long before that,” Bogdanovic said. “I had a great look, I was in a good mood. I hit a few 3s before. I had a very good look. That’s all I can say about the last photo.

Now the Jazz will have to wait until Wednesday night to get another shot at the Grizzlies.

Strong points

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Some 13,000 jazz fans were on hand for the first match. Expect another boisterous night out at Vivint Arena on Wednesday, when Game 2 kicks off at 8 p.m. ET.

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