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Jazz end long road trip with a win

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Updated 11 months ago on
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks scored 23 points and forward Gordon Hayward added 21 as the Jazz wrapped up their six-game pre-Christmas road trip with a 97-91 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday at FedExForum.

It was the Jazz’s longest annual pre-Christmas road trip since 2003, and Monday’s victory gave Utah a 3-3 mark on the trip. Coming off a 104-96 loss at Charlotte on Saturday, the Jazz won three of the last four on the trip after dropping the first two at Washington and New Orleans.

“This road trip was gruesome,” said Jazz point guard Trey Burke (eight points, four assists). “It was a long road trip. I feel like we grew a lot as a team on this road trip. There was a lot of up and down throughout the team on this road trip. So I definitely think we have to kind of take in this rest period that we get for a couple of days and it should be good for us.”

Forward Derrick Favors added 15 points and seven rebounds, and center Enes Kanter had 13 points and nine rebounds for a young Jazz team that was the aggressor for most of the night.

The Grizzlies played without injured starters Tony Allen (right corneal abrasion) and Zach Randolph (sore right knee).

It was the Grizzlies’ third game in four days and Memphis’ third consecutive loss — the franchise’s longest losing streak since it lost five straight in December 2013.

“I mean, it’s the NBA,” said Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee, who finished with 13 points. “You’re gonna have your ups and you’re gonna have your downs. You just can’t get too low when you have your downs.

“We’ll learn from this. No team wants to lose. We don’t want to lose. So it’s a bitter taste in our mouth and the only thing we can do is come back (after Christmas), get back to work in practice and have that carry over in the game.”

Memphis, which dropped to 1-4 when playing without Randolph since the start of last season, had several chances to tie the game in the closing minutes, but the sharpshooting Lee, who finished 0-for-7 from 3-point range, missed a pair of 3-point tries that would have tied the game.

Burke’s three-point play with 1:34 left put away the Grizzlies (21-7).

“Big. Very big for our confidence to be able to come back and get a big road win here in Memphis after a poor performance in Charlotte (on Saturday),” Burke said. “We definitely wanted to come out and fight for 48 minutes. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game. This is one of the best teams in the NBA. We gave them our best shot and we ended up winning. We definitely gotta build off of this.”

As evidence of its aggressiveness, Utah (9-20) finished 20-for-27 from the free-throw line while Memphis got to the line just nine times, making eight. The Jazz also outrebounded Memphis 49-34.

“We were just fighting, you know, (because) we needed the game,” Burks said. “We knew they were on a back-to-back so we were just trying to play hard.”

Guard Mike Conley’s 28 points led the Grizzlies, who lost at Cleveland on Sunday and at home against Chicago on Friday.

Center Marc Gasol finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, but Memphis got little from forwards Tayshaun Prince (zero points, one rebound) and Kosta Koufos (five points, four rebounds), who started in place of Allen and Randolph.

“I thought we played hard at the end of a tough stretch,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. “Guys gave everything they had, but at the end of the day the offensive rebounds were a big deal for us. We ended up with five. They ended up with 10. They ended up with 27 free throws. We ended up with nine.

“We’re disappointed that we came out of this five-game stretch to win three, especially when you get the first two. Guys are logging a lot of minutes. We’re looking forward to some time off.”

The Jazz, who got a career-high 16 rebounds from reserve center Rudy Gobert, never led by more than seven.

Memphis, though, could never take control, watching an eight-point first-quarter lead evaporate by midway through the second quarter.

“We didn’t close out the second quarter very well,” Joerger said. “We were sitting on a seven-point lead. We relaxed and they ran it back on an 8-0 run.”

NOTES: Grizzlies G Tony Allen (right corneal abrasion) and F Zach Randolph (sore right knee) did not play. Allen missed his fourth game in a row, Randolph his second. … Coach Dave Joerger said fatigue was a factor for the Grizzlies in losses to Chicago on Friday and Cleveland on Sunday. Prior to those games, Memphis played in six overtime periods in consecutive wins over Charlotte (2OT), Philadelphia (OT), Golden State and San Antonio (3 OT). Monday’s game was the third in four days for Memphis. … The six-game, nine-day trek featured the most games on Utah’s annual pre-Christmas road trip since 2003. The team traveled 5,975 miles over the nine days. Utah returns home to play the Philadelphia on Saturday. … The Grizzlies play host to the Houston Rockets on Friday.

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