The Associated Press
Monday, March 21, 2011; 11:53 PM
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Zach Randolph scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies maintained their hold on the final Western Conference playoff spot with a 103-85 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
Seven Memphis players finished in double figures as the Grizzlies won for the third time in four games. Darrell Arthur scored 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, while Tony Allen had 12 points.
Paul Millsap led Utah with 15 points, while Al Jefferson scored 12.
While the Jazz shot 49 percent for the game, they committed 19 turnovers. Utah was outscored in the paint 66-40 and outrebounded by Memphis 40-30, including 14 offensive rebounds for Memphis.
The win solidified Memphis' hold on the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, while the Jazz dropped three games behind the Grizzlies.
Memphis had a season-high 33 assists on 45 baskets in the game and weathered a slight rush by the Jazz early in the fourth.
Utah built an early lead as the Grizzlies came out of the gate shooting poorly.
Memphis' defense began causing turnovers, leading to transition baskets. The Grizzlies built their own lead, eventually reaching 15 points in the half.
But Utah chipped away at the advantage as its defense tightened. The Jazz defenders doubled Randolph and Gasol in the post to try and cut down on their effectiveness.
Meanwhile, Millsap was perfect on his five shots in the half, en route to 11 points. Jefferson, who averages 19 points a game, was held scoreless until a hook shot with 2:22 left in the half.
The Jazz had cut the lead to single-digits, but Mayo's 3-pointer at the halftime horn gave Memphis a 54-42 lead at the break.
Utah was still shooting well in the third period, but unable to make any headway on Memphis' advantage. The Grizzlies, who lead the league in points in the paint at 50.7 a game, already had surpassed their average by the end of the third quarter, helping Memphis carry an 80-65 lead into the final frame.
Utah, which has a league-best 12 games where it has erased double-digit deficits in the second half, tried to start another comeback entering the fourth.
Jefferson and Ronnie Price scored baskets and Gordon Hayward nailed a 3-pointer before Memphis could get on the board. That pulled Utah within 80-72, but Memphis answered with a 15-3 run and saw its lead reach 95-75 at the midway point of the fourth.
Notes: Before the game, Grizzlies F Rudy Gay was given his commemorative ring from his performance as part of USA Basketball's gold medal team in the 2010 FIBA World Championships. ... Utah starting G Devin Harris went to the bench only 3 minutes into the game with a strained right hamstring and did not return. ... Jazz F Derrick Favors sprained his left ankle with just over 2 minutes left in the third and did not return. ... Memphis is 19-0 when leading at halftime. ... Utah has lost 16 of its last 21 on the road. ... The Grizzlies continued their dominance facing opponents on the second night of back-to-back games. Utah lost 110-108 at Houston on Sunday. The Grizzlies are 16-1 against teams facing the second straight night, including 13-0 at home.