Burks, Hayward lead Jazz past Grizzlies, 97-91
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies limped into the Christmas break on a three-game losing streak and tired legs.
After losing to Eastern Conference foes Chicago and Cleveland over the weekend, Memphis showed signs of fatigue in not being able to counter Utah's youth, allowing the Jazz to beat the Grizzlies 97-91 on Monday night.
''We just didn't have the effort we were supposed to have to win this game,'' Memphis reserve guard Beno Udrih said.
Alec Burks scored 23 points and Gordon Hayward added 21 to lead the Jazz, who withstood a late push by hitting eight of 10 free throws down the stretch for their third win in the last four.
Derrick Favors finished with 15 points, while Enes Kanter added 13 points and nine rebounds. Rudy Gobert had a career-best 16 rebounds as the Jazz dominated the boards 49-34.
''I think our offensive game started with our defense,'' Hayward said. ''We have a goal of not letting teams score over 24 points per quarter, and we won on three of four quarters.''
Memphis only surpassed 24 points in the third quarter - when it had 25.
Mike Conley led Memphis with 28 points and his two 3-pointers down the stretch kept the Grizzlies close. Marc Gasol finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Courtney Lee had 13 points and Vince Carter added 12 on 4 of 7 shooting.
Memphis continued to show the effects of a tough stretch of games that included multiple overtime contests, and some of the toughest teams in both conferences. That included a victory last week over Golden State, which has the best record in the NBA, and a triple-overtime win in San Antonio.
Memphis has not won since that victory over the Spurs last Wednesday.
Utah connected on 9 of 19 from outside the arc to create a buffer from Memphis. Another factor, beyond the rebounding margin, was the Jazz converting 20 of 27 free throws, while Memphis went to the line only nine times in the game, making eight.
Utah led through much of the second half until Gasol connected with 5:32 left for a 77-75 Memphis lead. Burks answered with a 3-pointer, and Utah never let go of the lead the final 5 minutes in rebounding from a 104-86 loss Saturday at Charlotte.
''It was big for our confidence to be able to come back and get a road win here in Memphis after a poor performance in Charlotte,'' Jazz guard Trey Burke said.
The Jazz pushed the lead to six points in the third quarter, and managed to keep the Grizzlies at bay through most of the period as Hayward had nine points and Kanter added seven.
Once Utah erased the Grizzlies' short-lived lead after Gasol's basket in the fourth, Memphis never seemed to have enough to rally again.
''We let three games get away from us,'' Lee said. ''Three games we definitely should have won or could have won. It's tough.''
Jazz: Utah wrapped up a six-game road trip over nine days that covered 5,975 miles. ... Gobert's previous high for rebounds was 12 against Charlotte on Saturday.
Grizzlies: Memphis played without starters Zach Randolph (sore right knee) and Tony Allen (right corneal abrasion). ... It was the first time this season Memphis lost to a team that entered the game with a sub-.500 record.
Memphis had not lost three straight since a five-game losing streak from Dec. 11-18, 2013. ''We're not used to that,'' Udrih said.
Added Lee: ''We're alarmed from this. No team wants to lose. We don't want to lose, so it's a bitter taste in our mouths.''
Hayward said the road trip was beneficial for the Jazz, who split the six games. ''Being in situations like this is really good for us in the long run,'' he said. ''Road trips like this are good for us. To put us in situations where there is adversity.''
Jazz: Host Philadelphia on Saturday
Grizzlies: Host Houston on Friday.