Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 1/12

Game 1: Saturday, January 12th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 5th
Game 3: Thursday, February 28th
Game 4: Monday, March 11th

Jazz 114


    7:00 PM ET, February 28, 2002

    EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 20 15 18 1770
    UTAH 33 18 29 34114

    Top Performers

    Memphis: R. Buford 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast

    Utah: R. LaRue 12 Pts, 1 Reb, 12 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Utah has fun from the very start in return home

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- If Rusty LaRue dunks in the first quarter, it's going to be a great night for the Utah Jazz.

    Pau Gasol


    Memphis center Pau Gasol can't get around Utah's Karl Malone.

    Donyell Marshall scored 20 points, and Bryon Russell added 13 on 6-for-8 shooting as the Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies 114-70 Thursday night in their second February home game.

    One week after Sarah Hughes won the women's figure skating gold medal in the Delta Center, the Jazz returned home for the first time since Feb. 2 after being displaced for nine games by the Winter Olympics.

    "We weren't used to the white uniforms," joked Karl Malone, who scored 10 points. "We went out and got comfortable on the road. We know why we had to do it, because of the Olympics, but it was nice to be back."

    Hughes' victory was a stunner, but the Jazz refused to allow another upset against Memphis. After losing twice to the Grizzlies this season, Utah dictated the pace from tipoff this time.

    "We got out on the defensive end," Malone said. "We got a nice lead from the start. Guys were unselfish with the ball."

    Rodney Buford scored 15 points and Shane Battier had 12, but the Grizzlies lost their fifth in a row.

    Utah established control with an 18-9 run midway through the first quarter and led 33-20 after the opening period. It was 51-35 at the break, and the Jazz led by 20 points, then 30, then 40, in the second half.

    Scott Padgett's basket with 2:08 to play gave Utah a 108-68 lead. The 44-point margin was the third-worst in franchise history for the Grizzlies.

    "Tonight was a disgrace," Memphis coach Sidney Lowe said. "We did nothing right. Nothing. We didn't defend. We didn't remember what to do defensively. The whole scheme, it was a disgrace."

    Padgett scored 13 points, and LaRue had 12 points and 12 assists. The reserve point guard set the tone for the night with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter, taking a feed from Andrei Kirilenko for his first NBA dunk.

    "I didn't try anything fancy, just a little something," LaRue said.

    That's when everyone knew it would be a fun night for the Jazz. Several players on the Utah sideline turned to look at 39-year-old John Stockton as if to say, "You're next, big guy."

    "Not likely," Stockton said later.

    John Amaechi scored 10 points as Utah, which averaged 35 percent shooting in its two defeats against the Grizzlies, shot 58.2 percent this time and won for the seventh time in eight games.

    Utah extended the margin to 80-53 by outscoring the Grizzlies 29-18 in the third quarter. The second half was garbage time for both teams, but Marshall threw down several dunks and alley-oops to keep the crowd entertained.

    Marshall played for the second time since missing 14 games with a bruised right hip.

    "I'm slowly coming back," he said. "With more repetition in practice and the games, I'll be ready. When you're able to finish tough plays, get up above the rim and catch the ball and put it in, it does a lot for your confidence."

    It was a homecoming for Grizzlies point guard Eddie Gill. The former Weber State standout, who signed a 10-day contract last week, started his second consecutive game and had five points, five rebounds and one assist in 35 minutes.

    "It was exciting. I was glad to be out there," Gill said.

    Game notes

    The Mailman (1,330 games) passed Moses Malone for fourth place on the NBA's career games played list. ... Two hours before tipoff, the Grizzlies waived nine-year veteran and former Utah forward Ike Austin. ... Brevin Knight (thigh cramps) didn't travel with the Grizzlies. ... Stockton, hobbling after landing awkwardly on his ankle, went to the locker room with 4:09 left before halftime. He started the second half. ... Since beating the Jazz in Salt Lake City on Jan. 12, the Grizzlies are 3-18. ... Kirilenko blocked four shots in the first quarter. ... Memphis has used 18 starting lineups this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press