MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It was the first playoff game in Memphis since 2017, and for Grizz fans it was definitely worth the wait.
Ja Morant displayed his athleticism with flashy dunks, Dillon Brooks energized the crowd and trash-talked Mike Conley, and the Grizzlies kept things interesting down to the very end.
But when it was all said and done, the Utah Jazz came away with a victory, beating Memphis 121-111 and now lead the series 2-1, thanks to a game-ending 14-2 run.
“We gotta be better in the first quarter,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said.
The Jazz got off to another hot start. They combined to hit 7 threes in the first quarter, while Memphis struggled shooting 2-7 from deep, putting the Grizz in an early 15 point hole. Jenkins said his team can’t win this series without playing a full 48 minutes and that starts at the tip.
But the Grizzlies would bring the 10,000 fans that packed the Forum, to their feet, chipping away at the Utah lead.
Memphis would start the fourth quarter on a 13-2 run. Dillon Brooks scored six straight to help cut Utah’s lead to five. Grayson Allen then hit his fifth three of the night to tie the game at 98. Allen with 17 off the bench.
Memphis and Utah would then trade baskets, with Mike Conley and Morant putting on a show. Morant actually giving Memphis its only lead of the game, 109-107, with a little more than 5 minutes to go.
That’s when the veteran Jazz made the plays. Memphis went cold, missing nine consecutive shots, allowing Utah to close the game on a 14-2 run to regain homecourt advantage.
Brooks said they came into Saturday’s game with a good game plan, and he’s proud at how he and his teammates rallied back from being down by 15.
“The cherry on top would’ve been the win,” Brooks said. “We’re still learning.”
Four of the Grizzlies starters finished in double-figures, led by Morant who had 28 on the night, on 10-23 shooting. Brooks had 27 points before fouling out late.
“The energy was electric. I’ve never seen the energy in the gym, in the arena like that. It was an amazing feeling. We have to feed off that. Feed off each other and do a little more. so a little more,” said Brooks. “You gotta be ready to come in and play desperate. We’re down 2-1 and we have to find a way to scrap out a win on our home floor.”
“This team’s great. They’re playing great. They played great tonight,” said Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. “We have to step up to the challenge. We love doing that. It’s a must win. We gotta do it.”
The Jazz led by their talented backcourt with Conley, the former Grizz great, and Donovan Mitchell combining for 56 points. Utah also finished the night 19 3’s.
“Just out there having fun, competing,” said Conley. “Got into the flow of the game early. Saw a couple of shots go in. Really found a good rhythm. Once that happens, just trying to feel the game out the rest of the way. It’s a great environment to play in. Still one of my favorite places to play. It was fun to be a part of it.”
Utah now lead the series 2-1.
Game 4 is Monday night at 8:30 p.m.