for this game

Kirilenko shines as Jazz blow past Grizzlies

Nov 11, 2007 - 6:23 AM By Chris Bellamy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) - Maybe Andrei Kirilenko is going to make it in Utah after all.

The embattled Jazz forward filled up the stat sheet Saturday night, nearly registering a triple-double to lead Utah to a 118-94 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

It was the second straight All Star-caliber performance for Kirilenko, who just one night earlier had dominated rookie phenom Kevin Durant defensively, including a game-saving block on the final possession, as Utah outlasted Seattle, 103-101, on the road.

He finished Friday's game just two rebounds shy of a triple-double but Saturday night, he was even better, scoring 15 points to go along with 12 rebounds and nine assists. He was one of the key playmakers for one of the strongest performances yet from the highest-scoring offense in the NBA this season.

"He's been great," Utah forward Carlos Boozer said. "AK's got a great attitude, he's been working hard. He's been doing everything. It seems like he's everywhere on the court."

He already had nine assists by the end of the third quarter, but try as he might he couldn't manage to get that final tally.

"Last quarter, we were chasing (the triple-double)," Kirilenko said. "But it's alright, it's a game."

After Utah jumped out to a 15-point halftime lead, Kirilenko and company came out smoking in the third quarter, dispelling any thought of a rally by the young, but potentially potent Memphis club.

Deron Williams buried a 3-pointer just 90 seconds into the second half to increase the lead to 18, and the Jazz built that to as high as 25 by the time all was said and done as they continued to push the ball up the floor.

"That's what we've got to do. We've got to learn to put teams away," Williams said. "I think that's why coach went back with (the starters) in the fourth quarter, to make sure we had the victory."

Though Kirilenko scored just one basket in the period, he was making things happen all over the court vintage play from the 6-9 Russian, for whom performances like this were second-nature up until his subpar 2006-07 season.

"We know what he can do," Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni said. "He is a tall, athletic defender and he makes things happen and moves well without the ball. All those things we already know. He's not a newcomer."

Midway through the third, Kirilenko snatched a Damon Stoudamire pass out of mid-air one of four steals on the night for the Jazz forward and led a fast break the other way, dishing a behind-the-back pass to Carlos Boozer under the basket to put Utah up 75-53.

Less than a minute later, Kirilenko snagged another steal, this time finding second-year guard Ronnie Brewer for a lay-in as the Jazz offense showed no sign of letting up.

"We got some good shots, we were able to get the ball inside, we were able to pass the ball extremely well and got our hands on the basketball," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "Andrei, he's played terrific as of late. He's made some terrific passes and he's played extremely well."

In the opening moments of the fourth, he helped put the finishing touches on a relatively easy victory, fading away for a short jumper off the glass and drawing a foul, completing the three-point play to put the Jazz's lead back over 20 points.

Overall, the Jazz forced Memphis into 25 turnovers, including 14 steals.

"That's our game get as many deflections as we can," Kirilenko said. "I think we played good."

The game was only close in the opening minutes, as the clubs went back and forth in first quarter. Midway through the second period, the Jazz went on a 12-3 run thanks to four points and a pair of assists from Williams to push the lead into double digits for good.

The closest the Grizzlies got was 13, when sharp perimeter shooting briefly got them back into contention.

While Kirilenko was nearly reaching double-figures in three categories, his frontcourt partner Carlos Boozer was seeing his double-double streak come to an end. Boozer accomplished the feat in six straight games to open the season, but had just seven rebounds Saturday night. Still, he carried the offensive load once again, putting up 31 points.

"If we win, that's all that matters," Boozer said. "The stats will take care of themselves if we all play hard. If we get a win, that's a cure-all."

Williams added 20 points and 13 assists for Utah and Gordan Giricek had 16 off the bench, connecting on 7-of-9 from the floor.

Rudy Gay led Memphis with 18 points, while rookie Mike Conley scored 10 and dished out a team-high nine assists.

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 94
    UTAH 118 FINAL

    Nov 10 11:24 PM

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 71
    UTAH 89 END, 3RD QTR

    Nov 10 10:51 PM

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 49

    Nov 10 10:05 PM

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 30
    UTAH 35 END, 1ST QTR

    Nov 10 9:34 PM