- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder repeatedly put the ball in Rodney Hood’s hands down the stretch of an overtime nail-biter against the Memphis Grizzlies. The second-year swingman said he wouldn’t have been comfortable with that earlier in the season.

He was plenty comfortable Saturday night.

Hood scored a career-high 32 points and the Jazz fought off a stingy Grizzlies team to win 92-87.

“We’re in that position a lot and (I’m) just being more and more aggressive,” Hood said. “My teammates really encouraged me. I had a matchup where they were switching off with (Mike) Conley and I had the height advantage. So I just wanted to make a play.”

The Jazz won consecutive games for the sixth time this season, but have yet to win three straight.

Hood knocked down a pair of free throws to put Utah ahead 89-87 with 29.1 seconds left in overtime. He scored 10 points in the first quarter and then carried the Jazz offense late with 17 in the fourth period and overtime combined. He had shot 1 for 13 two games ago.

“It’s hard to put behind you because you’re not used to shooting like that,” Hood said. “But games like that happen. … Just to have this type of game means a lot. You trust your work and it just comes out like that.”

Gordon Hayward added 14 points and Jeff Withey had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz.

Marc Gasol scored 20 for Memphis to go with seven rebounds and four assists. Courtney Lee had 17 points and Conley finished with 15.

Gasol missed a wide-open jumper from the elbow that would have won the game in regulation.

“I had a good look,” he said. “I didn’t get my feet right. I couldn’t believe I was that wide open and then I rushed it a little bit on my release.”

The Jazz remained short-handed without Derrick Favors (back spasms) and Alec Burks (left leg).

“We played with passion,” Snyder said. “You go down the list, I don’t think there’s one guy that didn’t give every part of himself to the game. It’s hard to do that all the time. But we sure did it tonight.”

Utah got out to a fast start with 28 first-quarter points, but the Memphis defense tightened up over the next 41 minutes. The Grizzlies held the Jazz to 36.8 percent shooting after the first period.

The Grizzlies closed the first half on a 20-11 run, including a 9-0 stretch, after falling behind by 10 early in the second quarter.

Trey Lyles’ jumper gave the Jazz a 46-45 lead at the break.

“Tonight was a tough night for us,” Grizzlies coach David Joerger said. “The first 20 minutes we didn’t play with enough focus and desire and force. They beat us with athleticism and hustle plays.”

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Matt Barnes served the second of his two-game NBA suspension. … Memphis began a three-game road trip. … Zach Randolph came off the bench and scored eight points after starting the previous game. He has started 20 of 30 games this season.

Jazz: Utah shot 55.6 percent from the field in the first quarter. … The Jazz outrebounded Memphis 48-40. … Trevor Booker had a game-high 11 rebounds.

ADAPTING ON THE FLY

The Jazz have been without Favors for five games and Burks for four games, and Snyder said they’re adapting. “I’ve maintained that what you do offensively is largely reflective of who you have,” Snyder said. “If Chris Paul’s your point guard, you’re going to play a lot of pick and roll. … In our case, we’ve been a team that has offensive rebounded and moved the ball and attacked that way.

“I think we lead the league in 3-point attempts since Derrick has been out. It’s very descriptive of what we feel we have to do to be successful offensively. … Oftentimes as a coach, those are things you figure out with your team.”

HEALTHY HELPS

Conley struggled with consistency earlier in the season, but has played better recently. “He is feeling better physically,” Joerger said. “He is also shooting the basketball better. I think one helps the other, whatever side you want to look at first. … He has shot the basketball very well.

“He’s done that as long as I’ve been here with him,” the coach added. “He’ll go on three- or four-week stretches where we are very tough to beat when he’s shooting the basketball well.”

MAKING THE MOST OF IT

Jazz rookie center Tibor Pleiss set career highs with six points, six rebounds and 17 minutes. He even flattened Tony Allen with a second-quarter pick.

UP NEXT

The Grizzlies travel to face the Trail Blazers on Monday.

The Jazz host the Rockets on Monday.

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