Published November 20, 2014
The Memphis Grizzlies were once the hottest team in the NBA.
Now, they will try to halt a three-game losing skid on Saturday night when they visit EnergySolutions Arena to take on the Utah Jazz.
The Grizz let a close one get away on Friday night when they fell 99-94 to the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Rudy Gay's 3-pointer to tie with under 10 seconds left on the clock rimmed out and Memphis is officially in the midst of a losing streak.
"Honestly, it shouldn't have gotten to that point," said Gay. "I feel like we could have won this game. But whether that shot went down or not I think it was a couple of crucial plays that happened before, earlier in the fourth quarter."
Gay poured in a game-high 21 points, but his normally efficient frontcourt mates struggled badly. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol each had 10 points on a combined 7-for-22 shooting.
The Grizzlies forced 20 turnovers, but only scored 23 points off said miscues. Memphis is second in opponents' scoring and seventh in opponents' field-goal percentage, and on Friday, the Grizzlies allowed the Nuggets to shoot 52.2 percent.
Utah's four-game winning streak ended with a loud thud on Friday night when the Jazz laid an egg against the Phoenix Suns. The Jazz fell 99-84 in Phoenix in their lowest point output since Nov. 17.
"I don't think their defense is that great to be honest with you," opined Paul Millsap. "We just didn't execute as well as we're supposed to."
The Suns flew out of the gate on Friday night with 34 first-quarter points and led by 14 at the half. The Jazz trimmed their deficit to single digits a few times, but Phoenix inevitably pulled away.
Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 14 points and 11 boards, followed by 12 from Millsap and 11 apiece from Marvin Williams and Derrick Favors in just his second game back from a five-game absence with plantar fasciitis.
During their four-game victory run, the Jazz averaged 108.5 ppg, but that number is a bit tainted by the 131-point showing against the lowly Toronto Raptors.
But offense wasn't the only thing getting the Jazz into the winner's column. They held the opposition to 96.5 ppg during the win streak.
The Grizzlies defeated the Jazz, 103-94 in Memphis on Nov. 5. The Grizz have dropped nine straight in Utah and their last victory in Salt Lake City came on Jan. 24, 2007.