"It's one of our best wins of the season, " Hayward said. "It means a lot to us, considering everything we're going through. They're a physical team, and turned it up on us at the end. I thought everyone who came in gave a great contribution. It was just a huge win for us. We needed that one."
The Jazz won because shooting guard Rodney Hood played his best game of the season. With the Grizzlies pressuring and trapping Hayward all over the floor, Hood received single coverage and took full advantage. By the time he was through, Hood had a career-high 32 points on 10 of 20 shooting. He made five 3-pointers, and most of Utah's offense when the stakes were high ran through Hood.
Utah won because Withey again played well in Favors' stead, scoring 12 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking four shots. He held Memphis star Marc Gasol to 20 points on 8 of 20 shooting from the field before fouling out.
Even with 17 assists and 16 turnovers, even when it looked several times as if the Grizzlies were about to run away from the Jazz, Utah found a way to counter, usually with the left hand of Hood.
"I was just being real aggressive, " Hood said. "Shots were flowing from the first quarter, they were blitzing Gordon, so I had man coverage and I was aggressive and confident. Shots fell for me tonight, and I was able to get my offense going from the outset."
The Jazz move to 15-17 on the season with the win, and are winners of three of their past four games. With the victory, Utah jumps ahead of the Houston Rockets for seventh place in the Western Conference, making Monday's matchup with Houston a game of increased significance.
Utah struggled at many points offensively, especially down the stretch. The Jazz trailed for much of the second half, having led by as much as 10 points in the first half. But they never lost contact because they defended so well, holding the Grizzlies to 40 percent shooting.
Memphis hurt itself in many places, starting with its 14 of 26 performance from the free-throw line. The Grizzlies allowed the Jazz to outrebound them, and Gasol missed a wide open 17-footer that would've won the game for Memphis at the end of regulation. It was the type of shot the all-star usually makes in his sleep.
Given the opening, the Jazz took full advantage. With the game tied at 87, Hood got fouled, went to the line and made two. Needing a stop, Utah forced a Mike Conley miss, and Trevor Booker came up with a huge rebound. He then made one of two free-throws, and garnered another big rebound when Courtney Lee missed what would've been the tying 3-pointer on the next possession.
"At some point saying shorthanded does a disservice to the guys that played, " Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "I've probably been the one that's said that, as you think about it. I think the thing that stands out is just the grit. We played with passion. Whether it's Book or Withey, Tibor, Rodney, Gordon. You go down the list, I don't think there was one guy that just didn't give every part of himself to the game. It's hard to do that all the time, but we sure did it tonight."