Video: Breaking down the Jazz’s late-game collapse against the Grizzlies
Owning a six-point lead over Memphis with just over a minute to play, things unraveled quickly for the Jazz. Here’s a closer look at all that went wrong
The Utah Jazz were trailing the Memphis Grizzlies by two points coming out of timeout with 3:46 left to play on Monday night in Salt Lake City. But, precise defense from Rudy Gobert, great play on both ends from Mike Conley and the hot shooting of Bojan Bogdanovic over the next couple of minutes sent the Jazz on an 8-0 run, giving them a six-point lead with just over a minute to play.
What happened over the final 69 seconds of the game wound up costing the Jazz one in the win column against a Western Conference foe.
The Grizzlies were getting desperate for a bucket after consecutive Bogdanovic 3-pointers, so they got the ball in their best player’s hands. Ja Morant attacked the basket but was thwarted by Gobert who blocked his shot. Morant was able to get his own rebound though, and made contact with Gobert on the second-chance attempt.
Gobert made the quick decision, after feeling the contact, to wrap up Morant. Sure, that sent him to the free-throw line, but at least it was not for an and-one opportunity.
Morant hit both free throws to cut the lead to four.
Going the other way, Donovan Mitchell got the ball to Bogdanovic, who was hot, but it was not until late in the shot clock, and by then Bogdanovic didn’t have a legitimate option other than to force up a contested 3. He missed the rim completely so the shot clock didn’t reset, and although the long rebound went to Mitchell, he couldn’t waste any time and pulled up from the logo, also missing.
This is where the wheels really started to fall off.
The Grizzlies got the rebound off Mitchell’s miss and pushed the ball. The Jazz still had a four-point lead and there was only 40 seconds left. So Desmond Bane ran straight down the middle for the transition layup.
Again, Gobert is there to block the shot. But Mitchell, who was ball-watching and over-helping, let Jaren Jackson Jr. slip past him for an offensive rebound, and it puts Bogdanovic in a tough position — needing to contest the bigger and stronger Jackson Jr.
Jackson Jr. missed the putback and heads to the free-throw line, where he missed the first and made the second, cutting the Jazz lead to 118-115.
On the Jazz’s next offensive possession, Mitchell dribbles the ball off his foot and the turnover goes right into the hands of Morant. It’s Conley guarding on the break and he doesn’t really have any other option than to foul and send Morant to the line. Otherwise the Jazz would have just been giving Morant the two easy points.
Then came the sequence that has fans up in arms.
Morant made the first free throw, but missed the second. The officials whistled for offensive goaltending.
Honestly, after watching this countless times, they could have called basket interference on either team and there would be a case for it. I originally thought the call was defensive basket interference. It’s really, really close.
But, after review the officials decided that it was not goaltending and since it was a loose ball at the time of the whistle, there would be a jump ball at center court.
Gobert lost the jump ball to Jackson Jr. and then, Gobert, who had been playing really excellently, made a mistake that proved very costly.
Morant has the ball and drives in, but gets caught in traffic. Part of that traffic is Gobert, who has blocked Morant many times at this point. Morant recognized that Gobert is close, which means that Jackson Jr. is open.
Morant flips the ball to Jackson Jr. and since Gobert is now out of position it gave him a wide-open shot, which he nailed, to give the Grizzlies a 119-118 lead.
It’s hard to like what happened in the Jazz’s final possession. The players seemed to be OK with it, but Mitchell had 5.7 seconds and ended up taking a contested, fading sideways, midrange pull-up for the final shot of the game. He missed.
Mitchell didn’t use the screen from Gobert, and since Mitchell decided to deny the screen from Gobert he wasn’t really looking at the weak side where Conley was open for a better look.