Memphis came into Friday night’s action with a 5-game losing streak. In fact, the Grizzlies last win came against the Utah Jazz, two weeks ago at FedExForum. But the atmosphere was a bit different Friday, as the Conley-related emotions were a bit more in check this time and both teams wore their amazing vintage throwback uniforms.
Utah jumped out to an early 11-5 lead, behind 5 quick points from Donovan Mitchell. Midway through the quarter, the Grizzlies would close that lead back down to 12-9 before the first timeout. Shortly after the timeout, Memphis would take their first lead of the night on a Jae Crowder layup at 13-12. After going down 20-17, the Grizzlies would close out the quarter on a 7-2 run to lead 24-22 after one.
Utah hung close for the first few minutes of the 2nd quarter before Memphis would go on an 15-5 run to take a twelve point lead at 46-34. The Grizzlies biggest lead of the half came on a Brandon Clarke jam with 38 seconds left for a 15 point advantage. Memphis took that lead into halftime, up 55-40.
Clarke led all scorers at the break with 11 points, while Jonas Valanciunas extended his great play from Wednesday with 10 points and 9 rebounds. Memphis dominated the glass in the first half out rebounding Utah 31-23. After those quick five points from Donovan Mitchell early in the 1st quarter, he finished with 10 total points in the half.
Those familiar 3rd quarter struggles came back with a vengeance, as Utah would start the quarter on a 12-0 run to close the lead down to three points over the first four minutes. Mike Conley’s first basket of the night at 7:19 to go gave Utah the lead at 58-57. Utah controlled the pace of the rest of the quarter, but the Grizzlies would briefly retake the lead at 73-71 on a Grayson Allen three. Utah would head into the final frame with a 75-73 lead, outscoring Memphis by 17 in the 3rd quarter.
While their pace early in the 4th was remarkably slower than in the first half, the Grizzlies started probing into the lane to create offense and kept the game within a handful, even taking a brief 78-77 lead. Down the stretch, Ja Morant closed the game to 3 points at 97-94, but big threes from Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale would put the game out of reach. It was this style of play that broke the Grizz spirits.
Bogdanovic led all scorers with 33 points, 26 of which came in the second half. Rudy Gobert had 13 points and 12 boards for a double-double, and Donovan Mitchell finished with 20 points. Jonas Valanciunas had another great game, with 22 points and 17 rebounds to go along with 13 points from Brandon Clarke off the bench. Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks were the only other Grizzlies in double figures, with both scoring 11 in the loss.
The Grizzlies hit the road Sunday, heading to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves for an early 2:30pm start from Minneapolis.