Grizzlies 109, Cavaliers 101

Tony Allen’s defensive accomplishments now include the

Grizzlies’ franchise record for steals in a game, a performance

that helped Memphis get its fifth straight win.

Allen scored 13 points and snagged a franchise-best eight steals

Monday night as the Grizzlies pulled away at the end for a 109-101

victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

”I was alert and felt good in the passing lanes,” Allen


His final steal came with 37 seconds left and the Grizzlies

holding a 104-99 lead. It helped the Grizzlies continue their march

down the stretch with their 13th win in 16 games.

”That’s crazy,” Memphis forward Marreese Speights said of

Allen’s accomplishment. ”But that’s what he does. He plays

defense. He’s probably one of the best defenders in the


Speights had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Marc Gasol also

scored 17 points to lead Memphis. Rudy Gay scored 15 points, O.J.

Mayo had 14, and Mike Conley added 12 as the Grizzlies won their

10th straight at home.

Gay and Mayo led a rally that allowed Memphis to finally put the

game away in the closing minutes. The Grizzlies pulled one-half

game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for fourth place in the

Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first round of

the playoffs. The Clippers hold the tiebreaker between the two


Rookie Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 25 points on

10-for-16 shooting, Antawn Jamison scored 17 points and Tristan

Thompson finished with 12. Manny Harris added 11 points, including

nine in the fourth quarter as Cleveland lost its second straight

and fifth in its last six.

”I think our guys are continuously competing at a very high

level,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. ”I’m very satisfied

with how hard we’re playing.”

The score was tied at 98 – the 12th tie of the game – when

Thompson hit two free throws for the Cavaliers with 3:27 left.

However, Cleveland struggled from the free throw line after that,

Thompson and Irving hitting only one of their last six


”We really competed for 48 minutes, and it’s just that type of

game where the two rookies go 1 of 6 from the free throw line,”

Irving said. ”It just happens.”

The Cavaliers used 3-point shooting to build a 10-point lead

early in the second quarter before the Grizzlies, who appeared

lethargic in the early going, put together a 14-0 run behind the


That helped Memphis take a 55-52 lead into halftime as Speights

had 15 points and Allen 10 – with at least three of Allen’s field

goals coming on dunks when Memphis turned up the defensive


”I believe that defense came from Tony,” Conley said. ”We had

a good group of guys going there, and they played with a sense of

urgency, especially defensively. We got in transition and made some

easy buckets and kind go jump-started us in spurts when we weren’t

playing well.”

Irving started off strong, scoring 13 of his 19 first-half

points in the opening quarter. He was 7 for 10 from the field,

including 2 for 4 on 3-pointers in the first two periods. Jamison

added 12 for the Cavaliers, who settled into 45-percent shooting in

the half.

”I was just taking what the defense gave me,” Irving said.

”Making simple basketball plays and feeding off my teammates. It’s

kind of what I do every single games. (The first) was one of the

best quarters we’ve had throughout the season.”

Irving continued to score in the third with help from Jamison.

Despite Allen having three steals in the period, the Cavaliers led

78-77 heading to the fourth quarter.

The final period started with a handful of lead changes before

Memphis created some space behind Mayo and Gay. Harris was able to

pull Cleveland back into the game with all nine of his points in

the period during the first eight minutes.

NOTES: Grizzlies G Lester Hudson played 13 games for Cleveland

on two 10-day contracts, averaging 12.7 points. … Cavs F Luke

Walton coached at the University of Memphis during the lockout. …

Memphis reserve F Quincy Pondexter left the game in the second

quarter with a left knee injury. Team said an MRI is scheduled for

Tuesday. … The Cavaliers topped 100 points in Memphis for the

seventh straight time.