Gordon Hayward and the Utah Jazz waged another tough defensive battle against the Memphis Grizzlies, but they couldn’t quite get enough stops in a Saturday night defeat.
No. 20 finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists, but the normally smothering Jazz defense allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 51.3 percent from the floor in a 102-95 defeat at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
“We couldn’t get stops tonight,” Gordon said. “They were scoring on their one-on-one opportunities in the post, too, which hurt us because now you’re trying to come and double and they’re cutting or they’re hitting threes and we’re scrambling. I think that’s what happened.”
The Jazz were able to keep pace offensively early in the game. Gordon had two points and two assists in the opening quarter, including a dime to Joe Ingles for a 3-pointer. Utah led 27-26 after one.
However, the offensive rhythm escaped the Jazz in the second. Gordon had five of his team’s 16 points in the period, all coming from the free throw line as the Grizzlies raced out to a 52-43 advantage.
Utah regained its offensive momentum, scoring 31 points in the second quarter. Gordon turned in four of them as the Jazz shaved three points off of the Memphis lead.
Gordon led a key sequence midway through the fourth quarter, dishing twice to Rudy Gobert and knocking down a short jumper of his own to shrink the Grizzly lead to just three points, 90-87. However, that’s as close as Utah came.
“Communication was an issue, for sure. It got them some open looks, especially early and then late, too,” Hayward said. “They cause some problems with the way that they play, and some of their bigs, they like to step out and shoot it. They have guys that cut. They’re a good team.”
After some well-deserved rest, Gordon and the Jazz will return to action Wednesday, Feb. 1 to host the Milwaukee Bucks for a 7 p.m. MT tipoff.
Milwaukee is slumping and will come to Salt Lake City in need of a victory. The Bucks have lost eight of their last nine games.
G-Time will draw matchups with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, who lead a dangerous Milwaukee squad, despite its recent recession.