Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (10) drives past Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant with help from center Rudy Gobert (27) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Conley scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Jordan Clarkson added 24 points and the Utah Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies 111-107 on Wednesday night for their seventh straight victory.
Bojan Bogdanovic added 23 points for Utah, which defeated Memphis for the third time in a week, this time overcoming 36 points from Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.
Kyle Anderson had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, and Dillon Brooks finished with 17 points. Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Leading scorer Donovan Mitchell was not with the Jazz for personal reasons. Mitchell was on the team’s original charter flight out of Salt Lake City before it was forced to return to the airport after striking a flock of birds on Tuesday.
“I think our team showed a lot of grit,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “Mike Conley was terrific. Controlling the game, finding people. … In the end, we got a couple of stops when we needed to.”
The Jazz led through most of three quarters but couldn’t stretch it beyond 10. Memphis stayed close enough to take a lead into the final frame.
The teams were still tied at the midway point of the fourth, but the Jazz stretched the advantage little by little. While the Grizzlies got close, including 109-107 on Morant’s two free throws with 7.3 seconds left, the Memphis couldn’t overtake Utah.
Two free throws by Royce O’Neal with 3.9 seconds left provided the final margin.
“Got close, a one-possession game. I loved our execution,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “This is a great growth opportunity for us.”
For Utah, it was a matter of getting through the game after Tuesday’s harrowing experience on the initial flight out of Salt Lake City. Most of the postgame discussion was about the emotions that accompanied the situation leading to flight returning so quickly.
“The pilots were very calm when they got on the intercom,” Clarkson said of the announcement they were returning to the airport. “Basically, telling us what happened. Saying we lost an engine. (That) we were going to be able to land somewhere.
“But we were all looking out the window, like ’Man, just land this. Just land anywhere. We don’t care. We’ll check everything else later once we get on the ground. Just please put this plane on the ground.’”
Jazz: Have won six straight in the series. … With Mitchell back in Utah, Joe Ingles started with Conley at guard. … Ingles passed Andrei Kirilenko for fifth on the Jazz’s career assists list. Kirilenko had 1,920.
Grizzlies: G Grayson Allen, injured in a fall to the floor early in Monday’s win over Houston, sat out left hip soreness. Rookie Desmond Bane started his 11th game of the season. … F Brandon Clarke missed the game for personal reasons.
“For a good 10-15 minutes, I think all of us on that flight were questioning (whether we would be here Wednesday). That’s how serious it was for us. I can’t speak for everybody, but I know guys were trying to text family just in case. It was that kind of situation.” – Conley on the minutes after the flight struck the flock of birds.
Jazz: Host Chicago Bulls on Friday
Grizzlies: Host Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.