Grizzlies 107, Nets 101
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)
A visit from the team with the worst record in the NBA helped end Memphis' home skid.
But the Grizzlies almost gave it away on Monday night.
Mike Conley and Rudy Gay had 21 points each, and Marc Gasol added 19 points and 13 rebounds and Memphis withstood a second-half rally to defeat New Jersey 107-101, snapping an eight-game home losing streak.
Memphis almost had its 21-point first-half lead vanish with a somewhat lackadaisical performance in the second half. There were times when it looked as if the Grizzlies may squander the lead.
``We needed this one,'' Gasol said. ``We started to go down during the third quarter. We didn't play like we played in the first (half). It would have been a really bad loss if that had happened.
``It is kind of a relief.''
Memphis got help from DeMarre Carroll and Sam Young, who scored 10 points each, ending the Nets' three-game road winning streak.
Memphis played the game without leading scorer and rebounder Zach Randolph, who sat out with a stiff lower back. Despite Randolph's absence, Memphis outrebounded New Jersey 52-45, including 10 by Gay.
Memphis withstood New Jersey's rally that began in the third quarter, all but erasing a 21-point Memphis lead from the first half.
``We got it down to three or four a couple of times, we just couldn't get enough to get it down at that point,'' Harris said. ``We had good shots. We had some solid looks. We got to the rim. We had some tough breaks. Couldn't get the tip-ins. We were right on the edge, but we couldn't get it across.''
New Jersey pulled within 94-91 on a drive by Harris with 3:09 left. But Memphis would not let the Nets overtake them, winning for the first time at home since defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 95-93 on Feb. 1.
``I don't know if (the Grizzlies) realized the magnitude of losing at home the way we had with eight games,'' Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ``We played well in the first half, got the lead and made just enough plays at the end to win the game.''
For the Nets, the problem was letting Memphis build the early lead. The Grizzlies had enough of a buffer that the Nets couldn't put enough together down the stretch.
``You can't spot them 20 points, and then decide to play,'' New Jersey coach Kiki Vandeweghe said.
``We definitely don't like to give teams head starts the way we've been doing,'' Harris added. ``Once we correct that, it will be easier to contend in that fourth quarter, instead of coming back from big deficits.''
Memphis carried a 67-51 lead into the half.
The Nets were getting strong play from guards Lee and Harris, but little from their front line in the first half.
Lee had 17 points at the half, hitting 8 of his 11 shots, while Harris had 15. Lopez was the only frontline starter to score for the Nets, scoring three points.
Meanwhile, Gasol was dominating inside for Memphis, while Conley was providing help from the perimeter. The Grizzlies pushed the lead to 21 by shooting close to 60 percent in the half. Gasol led Memphis with 16 in the half, while Conley had 14.
``It was rough,'' Lopez said. ``There wasn't much I could do defensively against Marc (Gasol).''
The Nets were able to put a dent in the advantage as the Grizzlies seemed satisfied with a double-digit lead in the early stages of the second half.
New Jersey was outhustling Memphis to the ball and the Grizzlies couldn't keep the shooting pace of the first half. Josh Boone's tip-in got the deficit to single digits causing an irritated Hollins to call timeout.
The Nets continued to play tough defense and ended up outscoring Memphis 26-14 in the quarter to all but erase the Grizzlies advantage as Memphis carried an 81-77 lead into the fourth.
Memphis was 7 of 24 in the quarter, to help the Nets pull back into the game.
Down the stretch, Memphis made 6 of 8 free throws in the final minutes to preserve the victory.
``They just made a couple of more plays than us,'' Boone said. ``They made shots when they needed to.''
NOTES: Nets F Yi Jianlian did not make the trip because of a high ankle sprain. Boone started in place of Yi. ... New Jersey F/G Chris Douglas-Roberts, who played at the University of Memphis, received a nice ovation when he entered the game in the first quarter. ... The Nets are 0-6 against teams in the Southwest Division. The Nets were playing their second game of a five-game road trip. ... Despite the home losing streak, Memphis is 9-1 at home against teams with a losing record. ... Carroll grabbed eight rebounds, setting a career high.