by Alma Bean
Saturday night, the Memphis Grizzlies (4-1) traveled to Salt Lake City to face the Utah Jazz (4-2.) This game is the first of a three-game road trip for Memphis with two of those games in Utah.
No Ja, No Problem
Coming into Saturday’s game, Memphis star Ja Morant, was listed out due to a non-COVID illness. With Utah already being shorthanded, this was news was a weight lifted off their shoulders. Utah started the game hot, shooting 63% before the first timeout of the game. With the help of seven turnovers by Utah, Memphis ended the quarter with a 30-24 lead.
(1) Utah Jazz on Twitter: “dirty Ochai, two shots ☕️ #TakeNote | @youngoch https://t.co/lNGXKX5TfQ” / Twitter
Utah Jazz rookie, Ochai Agbaji (7/4/1) continued to show progression in transitioning from college to the NBA with the more minutes he receives. The second quarter belonged to Utah’s secondary unit. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (11/2/3) played like a player looking for a new contract. Alexander-Walker collected two steals and a block to bring the crowd to their feet with every possession. The crowd could barely contain their excitement when he was paired with Collin Sexton (19/2/4), who also collected a block. After shooting a phenomenal 15/21 (71.4%) for the quarter, 6/11 (54.5%) from three, Utah went into the half with a 62-54 lead.
(1) Utah Jazz on Twitter: “𝘯𝘢𝘸, he got it 😎 #TakeNote | @NickeilAW https://t.co/PgoqSyZ4IZ” / Twitter
Nail Biters Are Normal?
Utah continued to bring their energy after the half, but Memphis responded by making nearly every shot they took. Memphis shot 111/15 from within the arc and 4/9 from three. Whenever Memphis drained the excitement from the crowd, Sexton would bring them back. Looked as if the start really got to Sexton’s head having a crazy look in his eye after he would drive to the basket. With a pretty back-and-forth quarter, Utah went into the final quarter with a 95-91 lead.
(1) Utah Jazz on Twitter: “🚨 there’s a bucket in the building 🚨 #TakeNote https://t.co/BYcIuA9zdG” / Twitter
Utah’s bench continued to make their value known in the fourth quarter. Accounting for 31 points may not sound like a lot, but they did what was needed for Utah to remain competitive throughout the game.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “nickeil with the steal ✔️ ochai with the finish ✔️ #TakeNote | @youngoch https://t.co/Xh7IX1j3O0” / Twitter
As Utah progressives tried to fight their way to a win, Memphis’ Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane did everything in their power to lock in a win for Memphis. Combining 62 of Memphis’ points, they continued to respond to nearly every Utah basket in the fourth quarter. Kelly Olynyk (23/3/4)made a wide-open three to have every fan rise up believing that was the final shot to guarantee the win. Brooks responded with a fully covered three-point shot to put every Utah fan in the stands silent with seconds left in the game.
With 1.4 seconds left, Memphis with the ball at half court. Utah fans were all hopeful for a miracle given how well Bane and Brooks had played and made multiple fully covered shots. As the ball was inbounded to Bane, Sexton played aggressive defensive causing Bane to lose control of the ball while slipping. Bane could not get up and attempt a shot before the final buzzer rang.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “you need your volume 🆙 for this one #TakeNote | @KellyOlynyk https://t.co/tIWbzUCKfo” / Twitter
At the end of the game, as confetti rained from the rafters, Olynyk was pulled for the walk-off postgame interview. He mentioned how the bench needed to be recognized for stepping up when the team needed them most.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “That bench really picked us up in the second half. That was huge for us.” #WalkoffInterview | @lhmauto https://t.co/sbRR8cDHIq” / Twitter
A note that was not made during Utah’s win, Jordan Clarkson surpassed former Jazz star Deron Williams on the all-time made three-point list. Clarkson is now ranked ninth in franchise history with 512 made threes.
Utah will be able to get a day’s rest before they face the Memphis Grizzlies once again at home on Halloween night.
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