Memphis, Tenn. • There will be no postseason for the Utah Jazz after losing 86-70 to the Grizzlies in the final game of the season.
The Jazz needed a victory to keep playoff hopes alive, but were undone by a third quarter in which they were outscored 25-13. They trailed by just two, 40-38, at halftime, but couldn't keep up with All-Star power forward Zach Randolph.
Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 22 points and 16 rebounds, but no other Jazz player reached double-digit scoring.
The Jazz entered the night with hopes that they could beat the Grizzlies and that the Houston Rockets would top the Los Angeles Lakers, allowing the Jazz to move past L.A. for the eighth and final seed in the playoffs.
Now, they enter what promises to be one of the busiest offseasons in team history. Seven players, including franchise cornerstones Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, will be free agents. The Jazz front office will have to decide the direction of the franchise, whether to reinvest in veteran to led the Jazz to a 43-39, lottery season, or risk taking steps back to move forward by turning it over to youngsters Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter.
The Jazz closed the regular season winners of nine of their last 12 games, but the maladies that plagued them through their darkest periods of the up-and-down season reemerged in the finale. They lost on the road, something they did in 28 of their 41 contests away from EnergySolutions Arena. They fell apart in the third quarter, which coach Tyrone Corbin remedied with lineup changes, but never fully resolved.