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    Dante Exum shines as Rubio-less Jazz beat Grizzlies to boost playoff bid

    Mar 31, 2018

    SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points and Dante Exum had a season-high 21 to lead the Utah Jazz over the Memphis Grizzlies, 107-97, on Friday night (Saturday, Manila time).

    The Jazz clung to a 96-91 lead in the fourth quarter before Exum made a short jumper and then used his speed to make a layup and put the game out of reach.

    Exum played strong defense and was just one short of his career best as he shot 8 of 10 in the absence of Ricky Rubio.

    Joe Ingles, playing the point, had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Royce O'Neale added 13 points for the Jazz, who are jockeying for playoff position in the Western Conference.

    Marc Gasol missed just one shot — a long 3-pointer — in scoring 28 points, but didn't play in the fourth quarter when the Grizzlies may have needed him the most.

    MarShon Brooks had 24 points after scoring a team-high 21 points Wednesday against the Trail Blazers in his first NBA game since April 16, 2014. He is averaging more than a point a minute during his 10-day contract.

    In each of their last two home games — losses to lowly Atlanta and a depleted Boston squad — the Jazz failed to score a basket in the final 2:25 and gave up leads down the stretch.

    This time, Exum, in just his eighth game after preseason shoulder surgery, made sure the Jazz didn't need to sweat it.

    The Jazz swept the season series with the Grizzlies, 3-0.

    Gasol made his first eight shots, including four 3-pointers. The Memphis center gave the Grizzlies a 64-60 lead in the third quarter with two more jumpers beyond the arc after his first miss of the game. Memphis trailed by as many as 17 in the first half.

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    Grizzlies had won consecutive games for the first time since mid-January but played with mostly reserves down the stretch.

    TIP-INS

    Grizzlies: Memphis scored 14 points in the first quarter, matching Oklahoma City's output on Oct. 21 for the lowest of the season for a Utah opponent. ... Then, Gasol scored 13 by himself in the second quarter. ... Ben McLemore got a technical foul for pushing Rudy Gobert after a play with 7:36 remaining.

    Jazz: Rubio missed the game with a sore left hamstring. The Jazz are 4-1 without Rubio this season. ... Mitchell is 18 of 68 from 3-point range the past eight games. ... Utah made only 15-of-26 free throws.

    SUBSTITUTE TEACHER?

    Since replacing David Fizdale on Nov. 27, J.B. Bickerstaff has a 14-43 record as an interim coach. "Obviously, not knowing the future is always difficult. But this group of guys has been great to coach because they've never feel like a substitute teacher. Everything we've asked them to do, they've bought into," Bickerstaff said. "I've never felt like they've been trying to maneuver around me or go above me. They've just done what we've asked them to do."

    UP NEXT

    Grizzlies: Continue their trip at Portland on Sunday night.

    Jazz: Visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon.

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