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Analysis: Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley come up big in the 4th quarter to secure a Game 3 Jazz win over the Grizzlies

Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley shoots as Memphis Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen defends during Game 3 of their playoff series.
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (10) shoots as Memphis Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen (3) defends during the second half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, May 29, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn.
John Amis, Associated Press

The Utah Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 121-111, on Saturday at FedEx Forum to take a 2-1 series lead.

High notes

  • Mike Conley once again in this series was just as composed as anyone I’ve seen in a playoff game. When the Jazz needed to stop the Grizzlies’ fourth quarter run, Conley was there with the kind of play that only comes with experience. He shot 8 of 16 overall, was 7 of 10 from 3-point range, 4 of 4 from the free-throw line and finished the night with 27 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. He was an essential part of the Jazz’s win on Saturday night.

“Mike Conley, he was unbelievable. Just his quickness and his presence on the ball.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • There are a lot of Jazz fans that are not happy about the actions of Dillon Brooks toward Conley. If you want to be mad about it, I get it. But, the jawing and chippiness and the physicality between these two during this series has been an absolute joy. You mad about the “headbutt” Brooks gave Conley in Game 1? Well you might have missed when Conley shoved Brooks into a screen in Saturday’s Game 3. Mad about some elbow tossing from Brooks? You might have missed Conley hanging onto Brooks’ jersey as he tried to cut. This goes both ways. Brooks is a little more obvious and Conley is just a little more sneaky. Either way, it makes the series fun, and I’m a fan of fun.

  • The Jazz started out Game 3 with the right intensity on both sides of the floor. With minor lapses here and there (which are to be expected every once in a while) they seemed to start the game a little more focused than they were in Games 1 and 2. They dropped off to start the fourth quarter, and we’ll get to that in a little bit, but the Jazz do seem to be getting more and more level-headed as this series progresses.
  • Jordan Clarkson is starting to get pretty good at drawing fouls at the 3-point line.
  • Royce O’Neale was offensively aggressive early on, hitting four 3s before halftime. He got into a little foul trouble and focused his efforts more on the defensive end later on, plus the Grizzlies finally started to guard him on the 3-point line, but recognizing that they were giving him room to shoot early on was huge for the Jazz.
  • When that Conley and Rudy Gobert pick-and-roll is running it is really hard to stop and it’s a thing of beauty.
  • Donovan Mitchell’s minutes went up from around 26 in Game 2, to 29 in Game 3. Though still slightly limited, and not nearly as efficient as he was in Game 2, he waited til exactly the right moment to put his stamp on the game. Mitchell scored 10 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter. Mitchell and Conley got this game under control for the Jazz in the final minutes. They led the team exactly as they should.

“You know when Donovan’s got the ball late he’s going to make a play...It’s not going to be successful every possession, but he’s not going to be deterred.” — Quin Snyder

Low notes

  • The opening minutes of the fourth quarter was a horrendous stretch for the Jazz. They turned the ball over, didn’t fight on the glass, missed shots, didn’t communicate on defense, and absolutely let the Grizzlies climb back into the game. To their credit, the heroics of Conley and Mitchell saved the day, but the Jazz wouldn’t have needed their heroics if they would have held it together for a little longer. Game 1 was a bust, Game 2 was 36 minutes of intensity and Game 3 was about 42 minutes of good basketball. The Jazz are getting closer to putting a full game together. Hopefully it happens sooner than later.
  • Offensive rebounds. I’ll say it again, offensive....rebounds. The Jazz just cannot give up four offensive boards in a single possession when the game is on the line and they shouldn’t be giving up 16 offensive rebounds to the Grizzlies, period.

“We were kind of trailing the plays, miscommunicating, not communicating enough on the cross match. When you stop defensively like that, bad things happen. They were crashing and real aggressive on the boards and we couldn’t box out.” — Rudy Gobert

  • Bojan Bogdanovic not finding his man or losing him rather than boxing out is a problem.

Flat notes

  • Where was Joe Ingles in this game?