It was a battle, but the Utah Jazz used a 12-0 run in the closing minutes to pull away, and they ultimately beat the Memphis Grizzlies 121-111 in Game 3 of the teams’ playoff series on Saturday night in Memphis.
The Jazz now hold a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 set for Monday.
Here are three takeaways from the contest.
Donovan Mitchell was dominant down the stretch
The Jazz’s All-Star guard was pretty quiet in the first half with nine points before scoring 10 in the third quarter. He didn’t score for nearly the first eight minutes in the fourth, but then absolutely took over.
With the Jazz trailing 109-107 with 4:27 to play, Mitchell scored 10 of the Jazz’s 12 points during the aforementioned run to gain separation for good.
Mitchell finished with 29 points, five assists, two rebounds and a steal.
Memphis fell apart after fighting back
Down by 11 entering the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies fought back to take the lead thanks to great defense and toughness, which had won them Game 1. Once Mitchell started to take control, however, that affected Memphis on the offensive end of the floor as it didn’t execute for a couple of possessions, and Mitchell capitalized.
The Jazz were good offensively most of the night
Utah made 19 3-pointers on the night, which allowed them to stay in control most of the night even as Memphis fought to stay close (the Jazz led by double digits at the end of every quarter even though the Grizzlies cut the deficit to just a few baskets multiple times throughout the night before breaking through to take the lead late).
All five Jazz starters finished in double figures, as did Jordan Clarkson. Beside Mitchell’s 29 points, Mike Conley had 27 in his playoff return to Memphis, Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gobert all had 15 and Royce O’Neale had 12.
3:15, 4th quarter: Jazz 113, Grizzlies 109
After the teams went back-and-forth for a bunch of possessions, Donovan Mitchell has scored six straight points for the Jazz to help them gain some separation.
7:56, 4th quarter: Jazz 98, Grizzlies 98
Down by 11 entering the fourth, the Grizzlies have charged back to tie the game thanks to great defense. That has led to a rhythm on offense, and the Jazz have also had some breakdowns on that end of the floor. Dillon Brooks and Grayson Allen have combined for 11 of Memphis’ 13 points in the fourth.
3rd quarter: Jazz 96, Grizzlies 85
The Grizzlies came out of halftime aggressive on defense, which allowed them to cut an 11-point halftime deficit to as little as four, but the Jazz finished the frame well to maintain the double-digit lead. Donovan Mitchell scored 10 points in the frame and now has 19, while Mike Conley scored eight and has 20.
Halftime: Jazz 62, Grizzlies 51
Perhaps as a testament to how potent the Jazz offense can be, it wasn’t great in stretches during the quarter but had enough short good spurts to keep the lead in double digits, Utah is +12 in points from behind the 3-point line and +7 in free throws made while also having big advantages in the rebounding and blocked shots departments. Mike Conley and Royce O’Neale have 12 points apiece to lead the Jazz, while Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks have combined for 25 to pace the Grizzlies.
1st quarter: Jazz 34, Grizzlies 22
The Jazz offense was rolling for the most part early, as Utah made 7 of its 15 3-point attempts. The Jazz also controlled the glass, including getting five offensive rebounds. The Memphis offense struggled in large stretches, thanks in good part to Utah’s defense.