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Jazz Coach Will Hardy Credits Two Players for Big Grizzlies Win

The Utah Jazz defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 124-123 on Saturday night.
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The Utah Jazz are 5-2 after defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 124-123 on Saturday night. The Grizzlies represent the fourth Western Conference playoff team the Jazz have vanquished in their first seven games. 

Literally, no one saw that coming. 

With the exception, perhaps, of the Jazz coaches and players themselves. Ask Malik Beasley, who had himself a game vs. the Grizzlies. The Jazz take the court for one reason: to win. 

The Jazz don't care about all the offseason tropes about tanking and those salty fans who hijacked Utah's #TakeNote hashtag to call it instead #TankNote. Damn the torpedoes. 

Back to Saturday night's action. Beasley came through for Utah in the clutch, sinking the three-point dagger in the closing seconds that ultimately put the game out of reach for Memphis. He finished 4-for-6 from three-point land. All 12 of his points came off of threes.

Utah was led by Lauri Markkanen and Kelly Olynyk's 23 points each. Markkanen also chipped in nine rebounds, while Olynyk sank the go-ahead three-pointer that preceded Beasley's. 

The Jazz are feisty. Tenacious. This team has mettle, and perhaps that's the biggest thing fans and prognosticators alike misjudged going into this season. The Jazz have heart. 

Mike Conley rested from Saturday night's action, but was courtside to help lead and cheer his teammates on in what was a very impressive win. The Jazz still have warts and wrinkles to smooth over. 

It's hard to survive against playoff-worthy opponents when you give the ball away 20 times. Then again, it's hard to lose a game when you take it away 20 times. But the Jazz did both, with 31 points coming off of takeaways. 

Jazz head coach Will Hardy has his team playing unified basketball. It's 'find a way, make a way' for a 2022-23 Jazz squad that continues to defy all expectations. 

"I'm really proud of the guys," Hardy said post-game. "A hard-fought win against a good team. It was a game of runs both ways. I thought we executed offense really well down the stretch. Our last 23 points were assisted. 'JC' [Jordan Clarkson] made a lot of great decisions down the stretch, guys knocked down some big shots. I'm really happy with them staying the course. Memphis kept scoring. Our defense didn't help us at the end. Offensively, the spacing and the decision-making was great. We had a chaotic end to the game with some loose balls. Those are all good teaching moments for our team as we get familiar with each other. But again, really, really proud of our team."

Hardy also gave Nickeil Alexander-Walker some props for playing some "good defense" on Desmond Bane, whom the coach called a "tough cover." Bane finished with 32 points but Alexander-Walker made him work for it. 

You're feeling really good tonight if your name is Clarkson or Alexander-Walker. Hardy's 'it takes a village' ethos continues to bear fruit for a Jazz squad sitting at No. 3 in the Western Conference. 

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