The long-armed Russian had four steals, a blocked shot and numerous other tipped passes and deflections on defense. Kirilenko also tallied 15 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists to fall just shy of his third career triple-double to spark the Utah Jazz over the sloppy Grizzlies 118-94 Saturday night.
Even his top critic praised Kirilenko.
"We were able to pass the ball extremely well and got our hands on the basketball. Andrei, he's played terrific as of late. He made terrific passes and he's played extremely well," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
Before the season Kirilenko told a Russian newspaper he couldn't enjoy playing for Sloan and would welcome a trade. Now, he's having a ball.
"It was fun. When we up 15-20 points I even had a smile out there. I usually try not to smile because of the concentration, you know," Kirilenko said.
"AK's got a great attitude. He's been working hard and it feels like he's everywhere on the court," said Carlos Boozer, who led the Jazz with 31 points.
Deron Williams had 20 points and 13 assists of Utah's 34 assists to lead the Jazz to their third win in a row. The Jazz scored 28 fast break points and outscored the Grizzlies 52-36 in the paint.
Down by 25, the Grizzlies used a small lineup sparked by Michael Conley's slashing drives to make it 100-87 on Casey Jacobsen's 3-pointer with 5:39 remaining.
But the Jazz responded with 10 straight points, including two layups off steals, to put the game away. Gordan Giricek, who had 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting, scored on a fast break to put Utah ahead, 110-87.
"They kept the pressure on us all night. They kept us on our heels. Let's be honest, Utah is a good team and right now they're a better team than we are," Jacobsen said.
Rudy Gay led Memphis with 18 points and Pau Gasol had 11 but the Grizzlies could not overcome Utah's precision offense and 25 turnovers which led to 24 Jazz points.
"They forced too many turnovers on us. Turning the ball over just leads to easy fast breaks and layups and put us behind," Gasol said.
Ronnie Brewer, who had 10 points, added, "Defense makes our team run. When we're defending well, we're executing on offense and that's what we were doing tonight."
The Grizzlies made 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions to end the third quarter. Brian Cardinal's deep shot at the buzzer trimmed the Jazz advantage to 89-71.
But the Grizzlies had three turnovers in the first three minutes of the final period and the Jazz scored seven straight points, capped by Giricek's steal and layup to make it 96-71 for Utah.
"I think we helped them control the tempo by turning the ball over -- 25 turnovers on a night is not going to allow us to have any rhythm offensively and defensively it's the toughest thing to guard because they're off and running," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said.
In reserve roles, Conley had 10 points and nine assists and Juan Carlos Navarro added 10 points for Memphis. The game was the third in four nights on this road trip for the Grizzlies, who have won just once this season in five contests.
Utah's Matt Harpring missed the game because of soreness of his right knee, which was surgically repaired during the offseason. He is probable for Monday's game against Sacramento. ... Boozer had seven rebounds, failing to reach 10 rebounds for the first time this season. ... The Jazz were whistled for two separate delay-of-game warnings within 30 seconds of each other, resulting in a technical foul with 6:01 to play. ... Tarence Kinsey and Hakim Warrick were inactive for Memphis.