for this game

Williams comes up big as Jazz snap road skid

Jan 17, 2009 - 5:47 AM By Shawn Pachucki PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- The road has been tough on the Utah Jazz this season, but Deron Williams was determined not to leave Memphis with a sixth consecutive loss away from home.

Williams finished with 27 points and 12 assists to help the Jazz hang on en route to a 101-91 win over the lowly Grizzlies on Friday night.

After seeing a 20-point, third-quarter lead whittled down to 94-89 following Hakim Warrick's three-point play with 2:32 to play, Williams stepped up and drilled a 22-footer a few seconds later.

Marc Gasol converted a layup on the other end, but Williams all but ended the Grizzlies' hopes by burying another dagger from the arc to beat the shot clock, making it 99-91 with 1:23 to play. Memphis didn't score another point.

"We were giving the game away, throwing the ball around, and I had to step up for my team," Williams said. "You can't expect everybody to have it every night on the road, so I got to be the guy that has it."

Williams has been on a tear over his last three games, averaging 25.0 points and 9.7 assists - including 25 and six two nights ago in Utah's blowout defeat in Oklahoma City, as he was one of his team's few bright spots.

Jazz players say their lack of hustle hurt them most in that 21-point loss and created a must-win situation against Memphis.

"We've got to do a better job of creating our own energy on the road and I thought we did a better job of it tonight," Williams said. "I was really determined to get the win tonight. I came out and wanted to be aggressive tonight and hoped that my team would follow suit, and they did that."

The Jazz shot 52 percent (37-71) in this one for their first road victory since December 19.

"We know that for us to be a competitive team and for us to go far in the playoffs, we have to find a way to win on the road," said Ronnie Brewer, who bounced back from his two-point performance against the Thunder with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting. "I thought we played good team basketball and helped pick each other up tonight when we were in some tough situations. We wanted this win."

Taking and making more shots seemed to be all that separated the Jazz, as they were edged, 35-33, on the boards, lost 28 points off 16 turnovers and were dominated in the paint, 44-28. It helped that they were able to force the Grizzlies into 17 miscues for 21 points.

"I thought we were more aggressive starting out," Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan said. "We made some mistakes and our inside game has suffered with (Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap) out. I thought for the most part we got after it a bit more."

Williams set the tone early, overpowering and blowing by the Memphis' point guards for layups and drilling jumpers in the face of help defenders. Williams scored 15 points in the first half to help Utah build a 54-43 lead at the break.

The fourth-year point guard nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key two minutes into the third to spark a 13-4 run.

Memphis used a 17-4 spurt to get back within 71-62, but Brewer threw down a reverse dunk and Williams found Kyle Korver open for a 3-pointer with less than a minute left in the quarter.

The Jazz led by as many as 20 in the frame and took an 80-69 lead into the final 12 minutes.

"We didn't have enough consistent individual performance tonight," Grizzlies head coach Marc Iavaroni said. "You really have to play consistent with your starters and your bench. It was difficult to find that rhythm tonight."

O.J. Mayo scored 23 points on 9-of-21 shooting from the field, while Warrick and Mike Conley added 15 apiece off the bench for Memphis, which has dropped five in a row and 13 of 15 overall.

The Grizzlies shot 43 percent (32-of-75) and are now 3-17 against teams with winning records. They have dropped their last six meetings with the Jazz.

"We are one of the youngest teams in the league and we should definitely be one of the hardest playing teams in the league," Mayo said. "We've just got to do a better job of coming out from the start and playing hard - not waiting until we get down 10 or 15 points to put forth energy."

The Darius Miles saga saw some closure when the veteran swingman checked into the game at the start of the second quarter. The appearance was his 10th of the season, meaning the $18 million-plus remaining on his contract will officially hit the books of his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers. Miles had 10 points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes.

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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Jazz 101, Grizzlies 91  FinalJan 17 1:40 PM

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    UTAH 101

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    Jazz 99, Grizzlies 91  4th - 1:00Jan 16 10:22 PM
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    Jazz 96, Grizzlies 89  4th - 2:00Jan 16 10:20 PM

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    UTAH 80

    Jan 16 9:51 PM

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    UTAH 54

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    UTAH 26

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