"They cracked us early," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "It
looked like we wanted to play in tuxedos, and they were the ones
who wanted to work."
Rodney Buford scored 20 points and Pau Gasol had 19 points and
13 rebounds as Memphis charged to an early lead and snapped a
three-game losing streak with an 86-79 victory over Utah on Tuesday
"Our defense was solid and our offense was very good," Memphis
coach Sidney Lowe said. "We moved the ball around well and did a
good job of finding the open man. We hit open shots, but it was our
defense in particular."
Memphis pushed its lead to double figures at 2:44 of the first
quarter, and Utah never got closer than 10 points until the final
"They came out running up and down the court and made their
open shots," Jazz forward Karl Malone said. "Everyone gets up to
play the Utah Jazz, Karl and John (Stockton), and they have for 17
Andrei Kirilenko led Utah with 15 points. Scott Padgett had 14
points and 15 rebounds in a reserve role. Malone and Quincy Lewis
each scored 10 points for the Jazz, who lost their second game in
as many nights.
"Tired legs are no excuse," Sloan said. "These fellas make a
lot of money. I can understand if someone was sick, but I don't
think anyone was sick."
Utah looked uninspired from the start. The Jazz shot a
season-low 30 percent from the field. Utah's previous low was 36.3
in an 89-81 victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 29.
Memphis led 51-32 at the break as the Jazz shot 3-for-21 from
the field in the second quarter and scored a season-low point total
in the opening half. Utah committed 12 first-half turnovers,
including three by Stockton.
Gasol and Buford each scored 14 points in the first half for
Memphis extended its lead to 72-50 by the end of the third
As Memphis put the game out of reach midway through the third,
the Jazz rested their starters.
Malone played just 30 minutes, while Stockton played 25.
"I've said it time and time again, regardless of what these
guys go through on the court, they are going to come back and play
hard," Lowe said. "They may lose one, or two, maybe three games,
but it's never over with this group."
Game notes Sloan sent Utah reserve center Greg Ostertag to the locker
room with 7:35 left in the third after the player reportedly bumped
Sloan on the sideline. Sloan said Ostertag would be suspended for
the incident. Asked if he bumped Sloan, Ostertag replied: "You're
not going to get an answer from me."... Memphis reserve Stromile
Swift missed the game with a strained toe. ... Memphis G Jason
Williams also missed the game, his fifth straight after surgery for
two ingrown toenails. ...The Jazz entered the game holding a 22-2
advantage in the series with the Grizzlies. ...The victory marked
the Grizzlies' first win over Utah at home.