- Associated Press - Sunday, January 8, 2017

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The Memphis Grizzlies made sure they didn’t have an emotional letdown after rallying to beat Golden State, and they did it against the league’s best defensive team.

Memphis, which erased a 24-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the Warriors in overtime Friday, matched Utah’s intensity and defeated the Jazz 88-79 Sunday night.

“The number one thing for us was to build off of the (128-119 overtime) win at Golden State. Not be happy with it, then get back here and just lay an egg, which we’ve done during the year,” said point guard Mike Conley, who led the Grizzlies with 19 points and nine assists.

Marc Gasol scored 17 points, and Zach Randolph finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis.

Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 22 points, and George Hill added 15 points. Rudy Gobert grabbed 13 rebounds.

“They play physical, and I think we do too,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “…It makes for, sometimes, a different style of game, but a very competitive game.”

Utah is first in the league allowing opponents only 95.2 points a game, while Memphis is third giving up an average of 99.1.

The Grizzlies pushed the lead to 17 in the fourth, allowing Memphis to hang on for the win despite Utah connecting on five 3-pointers in the fourth

“I am just proud of the way we fought,” Hayward said, adding that the loss was “not the way” the Jazz wanted to end their five-game road trip.

Utah managed 35 points in the first half, but came out after intermission with more vigor and a tighter defense. The recipe helped the Jazz pull within 51-49.

But Memphis closed the third quarter with consecutive 3-pointers from Troy Daniels and Vince Carter in the final 5 seconds of the frame giving the Grizzlies a 63-51 lead heading to the fourth.

The lead would reach 17 in the fourth — enough to hold on. The Jazz was within 82-77 with 1:10 left.

But Gasol was fouled by Gobert attempting a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down. Gasol converted all three free throws for an 85-77 lead with 25 seconds left.

“We were eventually able to make a couple of shots and give us some life,” Snyder said, “but we dug ourselves in too big of a hole previous to that to have any kind of effort in the fourth quarter.”

TIP-INS

Jazz: Hayward has 23 games this season where he has recorded at least 20 points. … The Jazz, who average 13.7 turnovers a game, already had 12 in the first half, ending the game with 18. .The loss was the first time in nine games that Utah lost where both Hill and Hayward played. .Gobert has led the Jazz in rebounding 22 straight games.

Grizzlies: With a layup early in the fourth quarter, Randolph moved passed Grant Hill (17,137) for 89th on the NBA career scoring ladder. …. Memphis had nine 3-pointers, snapping a string of five straight games where they recorded at least 10 baskets outside the arc.

SLOW and GO Zbo

Memphis coach David Fizdale was asked before the game about the play of reserve forward Zach Randolph at 35 years old with past knee troubles. “He’s always had an old man’s game,” Fizdale said with a chuckle. “It wasn’t like he slowed down. He was already playing in preparation for (this).”

FOR THE FIFTH

It may be early to start seed-watching, but the Grizzlies win moved them a half-game ahead of Utah for the fifth spot in the Western Conference. “It’s not too early. I’m very aware,” Conley said of watching the standings. “…We understand at the end of the year, it’s going to come down to one or two games between three or four teams possibly. So, each one matters.”

Memphis has won two of the three games thus far in the season series. The teams play once more in Utah on Jan. 28.

UP NEXT

Jazz: Utah has been on the road since Jan. 1 - a five-game trip that ended Sunday in Memphis. The Jazz return home to face Cleveland on Tuesday - the start of three straight home games against Eastern Conference opponents.

Grizzlies: Memphis, which returned from a four-game West Coast trip for Sunday’s game, plays its next two on the road, starting at Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

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