Memphis (USA), May 31 (EFE) .- It was not easy, but the Utah Jazz, with All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, as leader, returned to overcome a close duel against the Memphis Grizzlies, who they won this Monday away 113-120 in the fourth game of the Western Conference playoff first round tie, which now leads 3-1 to the best of seven.
Mitchell had 30 points with eight assists that put him at the top of a list of five players who had double-digit numbers.
Among them was reserve point guard Jordan Clarkson, the current winner of the Sixth Player award, who claimed it with a contribution of 24 points, including four 3-pointers from nine attempts, and grabbed six defensive rebounds.
Along with Mitchell and Clarkson, French center Rudy Gobert was left without dominating in the inside game and for the first time so far this series could not finish with a double-double, but he did contribute 17 points, eight rebounds and put up two blocks .
But he got 13 points in the third period when the Jazz moved away on the scoreboard for the decisive advantage.
While Croatian forward Bojan Bogdanovic reached 13 points after hitting three triples of five attempts and point guard Mike Conley, former Grizlies franchise player, scored 11 points and distributed seven assists to complete the list of the five Jazz players who they had two-digit numbers.
Now, the team with the NBA’s best record in the regular season can close out this first round on Wednesday night when Game 5 is played in Salt Laker City.
Point guard Ja Morant, who averaged 33.7 points in the first three games, scored 23 and provided 12 assists as the Grizzlies’ leader.
Forward Dillon Brooks and power forward Jaren Jackson Jr., in their best playoff game so far in the competition, added 21 each.
Jackson’s season record was 20 points against the Toronto Raptors on May 8 after missing most of the season recovering from knee surgery.
While reserve point guard De’Anthony Melton had his 15 points in the fourth quarter and Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas finished with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds when he beat Gobert the individual duel under the hoops.
Memphis opened the fourth quarter on a 12-2 streak, taking advantage of the fact that the Jazz missed their first nine shots from the field.
Melton made 5 of 7 shots in the period, including a trio of 3s that made it possible for the Jazz to get into the game. His triple with 5:30 minutes left put the Grizzlies within 104-106.
Conley, with former Grizzlies teammates Zach Randolph and Tony Allen as spectators at FedExForum, ended the Jazz’s scoring drought with a decisive 3-pointer.
The Jazz were 3 of 16 in the fourth quarter, but 11 of 12 at the free throw line. Mitchell hit all six and finished 12 of 13, which would be a winning factor.
Memphis had another enthusiastic and loud attendance waving towels and chants proclaiming “I’m On My Grizzly” quoting rapper J. Cole.
The Grizzlies had their best start to the game in this series, scoring the first four points and leading by as many as four.
Better yet, Utah never led by more than five and was up just 31-34 after the first quarter.
However, Memphis, the youngest team in this postseason, never led by more than four. Utah showed its talent and experience by responding to every Grizzlies streak.
The teams traded the lead 11 times with seven draws in the first half. The Jazz used a 13-2 streak to take their biggest lead at 50-59 with consecutive 3s from Mitchell before Morant scored the final four of the half to cut Utah’s lead to 54-59.
The Grizzlies came up 71-72 with 7:03 left in the third. Gobert’s three-point play began on a 13-2 streak, and Utah led 87-100 after three periods.
Gobert missed his only shot in the first quarter, missed his second attempt in the second quarter and committed his second foul at 9:50 to go.
The French center had only one point and two rebounds at half time.
But Clarkson helped Utah finish with a 30-40 advantage in scoring from the bench, as well as having 17 3-of-34 attempts for a decisive 50 percent shooting.
(c) EFE Agency