Poor defense hurts Jazz in home loss to Memphis

first_img Related It was poor in the first quarter — it was porous to say the least. – Utah Jazz coach Quin SnyderSALT LAKE CITY — Before the game, Memphis coach David Fizdale said the most impressive thing about the fast start of the Utah Jazz this year was their “big-time” defense, while Utah coach Quin Snyder said the key to coming home from a week-long road trip was to play with a “defensive mindset.”Unfortunately for the Jazz, the defense wasn’t there Monday night as they fell behind from the start and could never recover in a 102-96 loss to the Grizzlies at Vivint Arena.The Jazz allowed Memphis to shoot above 50 percent for most of the game and let the Grizzlies outscore them 14-8 over the final four minutes, which dropped the Jazz to 7-5 on the season.“That was the nuts and bolt of the game,” said Snyder, referring to his team’s inability to get stops when it needed them. He lamented the team’s sluggish start and inability to get defensive rebounds and win the 50-50 balls.“It was poor in the first quarter — it was porous to say the least,” Snyder said of his team’s defense. “When you start the game as poorly defensively as we did, there’s a lot of pressure on your team and you expend a lot of energy. Unfortunately that was the case … we couldn’t get that first quarter back.”The Jazz were short-handed as they have been for most games this year with Rodney Hood missing the game because of illness and George Hill missing his fifth straight game with a sprained right thumb.Joe Ingles got the start and played brilliantly, leading the team with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Trey Lyles and Shelvin Mack contributed off the bench with 18 and 17 points, respectively.However, Utah’s big-money players, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, all struggled, finishing with 13, 6 and 6 points, respectively, as the latter two only played 21 minutes apiece.Favors appeared to re-injure his knee as he didn’t play the final 13 minutes of the game, while Gobert sat out the final 10 minutes.“Rudy wasn’t playing well,” said Snyder. “The group that was playing at the end was playing the best basketball, so we went with them, but we just didn’t have what it took down the stretch.”The Grizzlies, who came into the game with a 3-4 record, scored on nine of their first 11 possessions to take an early five-point lead at 20-15. They shot 60 percent in the first quarter on 12 of 20 from the field and jumped to a 38-26 lead early in the second quarter. By halftime, it was 56-48 Grizzlies, who shot 56.8 for the half.The Jazz didn’t get their first lead of the game until the final minute of the third quarter at 70-69, but gave it right back. They re-took the lead in the fourth quarter, but never led by more than two, and Memphis took the game over after the game was tied at 88 with 4:11 left.“We obviously came out a bit sluggish in the first quarter of the game,” said Ingles. “They had that lead from the start and we were kind of chasing uphill for the rest of the game. We need to come out with a better mindset at the start of the game, and defensively we just weren’t there at the start.”Lyles echoed Ingles, saying, “We just started out kind of sluggish. We knew coming out that we needed to be assertive and aggressive, and we weren’t.”The Grizzlies were led by Marc Gasol with 22 points and 39-year-old Vince Carter, who scored 20 off the bench. Mike Conley and Zach Randolph each added 18 points.For the game, the Grizzlies finished with 47.4 percent shooting, but outrebounded the Jazz by a whopping 44 to 29, including a 14-6 edge in offensive boards.The Jazz will play Chicago Thursday night in an 8:30 p.m. game before heading out on the road Friday for weekend games against Houston Saturday and Denver Sunday. The Jazz will play the Grizzlies three more times this season, including a Jan. 28 game at Vivint Arena. Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors hampered by injury in Utah Jazz’s loss to Memphis Grizzlieslast_img

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