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Randolph, Memphis beat Jazz 99-86 to halt skid

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Randolph, Memphis beat Jazz 99-86 to halt skid

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies were frustrated, having dropped three straight after opening the season with a franchise-best mark.

They also were tired of coming up empty in Salt Lake City, where they hadn't walked away winners since 2007.

That all changed Saturday night when they overcame a miserable first half to cruise to a 99-86 victory over the Utah Jazz.

``It's been a long time,'' said Zach Randolph, who scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to fuel Memphis. ``It's always hard to win here.''

At halftime the Jazz appeared headed toward another victory in front of their fans.

But the Grizzlies outscored Utah 28-10 in the third quarter to turn a 10-point halftime deficit into a 72-64 lead entering the fourth. The Jazz shot just 15 percent (3 of 20) in the quarter after shooting 56.4 percent at halftime.

Stopping Utah center Al Jefferson was a key.

``They put Zach on me and had a guy sitting in my lap the whole time,'' Jefferson said. ``It's kind of difficult for an offensive player to operate. We got to move better and I've got to do a better job of passing the ball outside. They're a good defensive team. They had a good game plan.''

Utah's 10 points in the third were the fewest since the Jazz scored six in the fourth against the Lakers on Dec. 9, 2009.

After shooting 7 of 12 for 14 points in the first half, Jefferson went 1 of 5 the rest of the way and finished with 21 points - the rest too little too late.

``We went out there and turned it up,'' said Randolph, who was 3 of 3 for eight points, with six rebounds in the third quarter.

Marc Gasol led the team with nine points in the third and also grabbed six rebounds in the quarter. He finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

Even if Jefferson mistakenly referred to Gasol as Pau, the credit was the same as he called both Randolph and Gasol ``beasts.''

``They got some tough plays down low,'' said Jazz forward Paul Millsap, who added 12 points and four rebounds.

``Z-Bo (Randolph) he never stops, he never gives up. So he's going to go out there every time. They're a physical team. They get down and dirty. ... They pushed us out past the 3-point line and we couldn't get into our sets, couldn't really run anything. You struggle against a really good team, you're going to pay for it.''

The Jazz got within four points on a 3-pointer by DeMarre Carroll, a former Grizzlies draft pick, with 10:30 remaining. But Randolph remained hot, scoring eight straight in a 4-minute span as Memphis surged ahead 86-75 with 5:45 left.

Memphis held a 48-35 advantage on the boards, including an 18-7 edge on the offensive end. Jefferson was held without an offensive rebound.

The Grizzlies also forced the Jazz into 15 turnovers and held a 50-38 advantage on points in the paint.

``A lot of times the ball just bounced right at them but other times they outworked us,'' Jefferson said.

The win halted a three-game losing streak for Memphis, and dropped Utah to 9-2 at home.

``This has got to be the motivator,'' Jefferson said of Utah's first loss in 10 games at home against Memphis. ``I think we got too comfortable at home. This proves we can lose at home. But it shows you can win on the road.''

That's where the Jazz are headed, for a four-game road trip starting in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

The Grizzlies, who halted a three-game losing streak, have three straight at home.

``We had to get back to what we do, and that's defensive pressure,'' guard Mike Conley said. ``It was frustrating. It was hard to look at us play so well and the last week play so bad. For us to come here and get a win in a very tough atmosphere says a lot about us handling adversity. This is a huge win for us.''

It started with an 11-3 run to open the third, Rudy Gay's three-point play and Randolph's short jumper getting Memphis within 57-55 with 8:04 left.

After Marvin Williams' dunk off a Randy Foye alley-oop pass bumped Utah's lead back to six, the Grizzlies scored 10 straight behind Gasol and Tony Allen.

It was a sharp contrast to the first half when the Jazz led by as many as 12 points thanks to their big men. Jefferson scored 10 straight for Utah during a 3-minute stretch in the first quarter, and replacement Enes Kanter started 4 of 4 and had 10 points in eight minutes and 10 by halftime.

Then it all changed for a Jazz team coming off a 15-road loss to Phoenix after seemingly finding itself in back-to-back wins over the Lakers and Spurs.

``It (hurts),'' Millsap said. ``We're not sound. That's how we have to look at it. It's one we wish we could have back.''

Especially the third quarter.

``We rushed some shots,'' Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. ``We didn't have the same energy we had in the first half.''

NOTES: Memphis F Darrell Arthur is to be evaluated when the Grizzlies return home after suffering a mild concussion Friday against Denver. He did not play Saturday. ... Memphis has forced at least 10 turnovers in 125 consecutive games. ... The Jazz held a moment of silence before the game for victims of the Connecticut elementary school tragedy. After the first quarter, they also organized an emotional reunion for a military mom, Jeanne Izatt, who hadn't seen sons Connor and Chance since April. ... Jazz G Jamaal Tinsley was drafted by the Grizzlies in 2001 (No. 27 overall) only to be traded draft night to Indiana. He returned to play the 2008-09 season in Memphis. .... Jazz G Hayward was happy to see his college team, Butler, knock off top-ranked Indiana earlier Saturday but was just 3 of 8 for the Jazz. ... Utah outscored the Grizzlies 15-2 on the fast break in the first half.

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Hard Knocks L.A. Episode 1 Recap: Anthony Lynn tested positive, Justin Herbert shines

Hard Knocks L.A. Episode 1 Recap: Anthony Lynn tested positive, Justin Herbert shines

Football is back on TV as the new season of HBO's Hard Knocks premiered Tuesday evening. It’s the first time in the documentary's 15 seasons that the show will follow two teams, the Los Angles Chargers and Los Angles Rams. In case you missed it, here are some highlights from episode one. 

Anthony Lynn tested positive

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn revealed in the opening scene that he had tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year. Lynn is the third known NFL head coach to have contracted the virus, joining New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Peyton and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

Justin Herbert shines

The Chargers first-round draft pick was the star player of episode one showing off his arm skills. He nailed almost every one of his targets during accuracy drills. The episode didn’t show too much of any player, but the former University of Oregon signal-caller stole the show in small amount of camera time he had

Rams head coach Sean McVay

Sean McVay’s introduction to the show had fans jealous of the panoramic views from his home in Los Angeles. McVay’s jokes were also a highlight of the episode. 

COVID-19 precautions and safety

Training camp is off-limits to fans in order to decrease potential exposure of the virus for players and staff. With that in mind, Hard Knocks is fans and media members first look at what an NFL training camp in 2020 looks like. From the frequent testing to the outdoor facilities that both the Rams and Chargers have invested in, it's a different type of training camp. It’s also a different type of Hard Knocks, but because of our desire for anything football-related, it has the potential to be one of the best seasons yet.
 
It will be tough to top the excitement of episode one but with two teams in action, there's no shortage of storylines. Episode two airs on HBO next Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET. 

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Wizards' NBA Bubble Awards: Thomas Bryant was the clear MVP

Wizards' NBA Bubble Awards: Thomas Bryant was the clear MVP

The Wizards closed out their 2019-20 regular season on Thursday with a much-needed win, as they finished the year 25-47 and their time in the NBA's restart bubble 1-7. 

Those final eight games, though, were about much more than wins and losses. The team was evaluating their young players as they look ahead to next season when the expectations will be raised significantly.

Just looking at those eight games, here are some awards and superlatives for what we saw...

Most valuable: Thomas Bryant

This is a very easy call, it was a unanimous vote. Though Bryant wasn't the only young player who looked good in Orlando, he was by far their best player overall.

Bryant leaves the bubble with eight-game averages of 18.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. Those are big-time numbers, even if they were compiled on a team that went 1-7. Bryant took on a larger role in the offense and increased his volume while remaining efficient. He shot 53.2 percent overall and 40.5 percent from three.

Bryant took a big step forward. He was healthy after dealing with a foot problem earlier this season, and delivered. The Wizards have a legitimate starting center they can pencil in for next season, hopefully with the green light to take more threes.

RELATED: WIZARDS FINALLY WIN IN BUBBLE

Most improved: Jerome Robinson

This was one of the more unexpected, yet pleasantly surprising developments for the Wizards in the bubble. Robinson, who had spent his entire career to this point backing up really good players, finally got a chance to spread his wings. And, boy, did he.

Robinson found a newfound level of consistency, averaging 14.8 points while shooting a solid 36.7 percent from three. He reached double figures in scoring in seven of the eight games after only doing that four times in his previous 88 NBA appearances. 

Given the small sample size, and the stakes, it probably isn't enough to truly guarantee him a role going into next season. But he has absolutely earned a chance to compete for the back-up role behind Bradley Beal.

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Most intriguing: Troy Brown Jr.

Brown had a tremendous start in the bubble, but slowed down late as he was thrown into the fire as the starting point guard. Though he struggled in that role, it was an invaluable experience that he can take a lot of lessons from.

Overall, though, Brown made clear improvements in his game. He thrived with a greater share of the play-making duties and was able to showcase his skills as a passer and ball-handler.

It was enough to warrant some focus by the Wizards' coaching staff next season. Though they will have John Wall and Beal coming back, they have to find a way to incorporate Brown's strengths. That may come in a bench role as the primary ball-handler in the second unit.

Needs most improvement: Admiral Schofield

Not all of the Wizards' young players displayed growth in the bubble games and included in that group is Schofield, the team's 2019 second round pick. Unfortunately for him, it was all juxtaposed with the breakout performance of Bol Bol, whom the Wizards passed on to select Schofield out of the University of Tennessee.

Schofield averaged only 2.7 points in 12.6 minutes while shooting 29.4 percent from the field. He looked uncertain on the floor and continues to sort of float between roles with no defined path towards stability in the rotation.

Keep in mind, though, Schofield is just starting out his NBA career. He was a second round pick and those guys take time. He has the physical tools, the work ethic and the smarts to make it in this league. But there is no question this will be an important offseason for the guy.

Best moment: Moe Wagner vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo

The most memorable image from the Wizards' time in Orlando was definitely the ejection of the league's reigning MVP in their penultimate game. Antetokounmpo has since been suspended by the league for it.

He lost his cool and headbutted Wagner, who now has another notch on his belt in his neverending quest to get under the skin of his opponents. He is a pest and an effective one at that.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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