Salt Lake City, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - Marc Gasol's controversial foul just before the buzzer nearly came back to haunt the Grizzles, but Memphis managed to escape EnergySolutions Arena with an 89-88 win over the Utah Jazz.
Memphis led 89-86 with just over a second left to play, but the Jazz found new life when Gasol was whistled for a foul on his block of Gordon Hayward's corner 3. Hayward converted the first two free throws of his game-deciding trip to the charity stripe, but when his final attempt drew back iron, the Grizzles clinched the much-needed win.
Memphis' triumph helped it stay a half-game in front of San Antonio for first place in the Southwest Division. The Grizzles have never won their division in franchise history.
"These last three [games] for us are important. We have to take [it] one game at a time," Randolph said.
Gasol finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Beno Udrih added 20 points and Courtney Lee had 15.
Hayward led all scorers with 27 points, while Rudy Gobert registered a double- double with 14 points and 14 boards. Rodney Hood contributed 18 points for Utah.
The Grizzlies closed out the opening stanza on a 6-0 run to go into the second quarter with a 29-23 lead. Hayward and Hood accounted for 21 of Utah's first quarter points.
"We made a couple of mistakes in the first quarter, but other than that we did great," Gobert said.
Despite trailing by as many as nine, the Jazz managed to narrow the gap as the contest went into the intermission tied at 49 after Gobert made a putback shot as time expired.
Utah led 86-72 with 4:43 remaining in regulation. Memphis scored seven consecutive points before Hayward's late free throws.
Memphis has won nine of its last 12 games against Utah ... Derrick Favors finished with just five points in 31 minutes ... Zach Randolph recorded a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards ...Bryce Cotton set a career-high with 11 points off Utah's bench.