Nets Rally From 13-Point 2nd Half Deficit To Top Grizzlies
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Carmelo Anthony trade talks are over, and it looks as if that’s just fine with the New Jersey Nets.
Devin Harris scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and the Nets rallied to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 93-88 Wednesday night, finishing off a 4-1 homestand that began with owner Mikhail Prokhorov halting drawn-out talks with Denver about Anthony.
“Right now the spirit of our team is at an all-time high, just in terms of all the things we’re tried to implement and trying to change this culture,” coach Avery Johnson said. “We’re seeing some of the product of our hard work.”
The Nets (14-32), who trailed by 16 after 12 minutes, showed a lot of heart in coming back from a 13-point deficit late in the third quarter.
New Jersey also got a big game from its reserves, who outscored Memphis 56-12. Anthony Morrow kept New Jersey close with 12 of his 19 points in the first half and fellow backups Kris Humphries and Sasha Vujacic added 14 points apiece.
“Boy, they were special,” Johnson said. “They were really good tonight. Our starters needed a lift. We’ve been talking about our bench and getting their own identity. It was good to see their production.”
Harris also stepped up big after being limited to four points in the first three quarters. In addition to his scoring in the final period, he handed out four assists, had a steal and made two clutch free throws with 10.6 seconds left and Memphis within a point.
“Defensively, we’ve locked down when we get to that moment of truth when we really need to get stops,” Harris said. “We’ve done it, especially late in games.”
The Nets did it against O.J. Mayo late in the game after Vujacic missed the second of two free throws to give the Grizzlies a chance to tie it. Mayo missed a tying 3-point attempt with about 3 seconds left and New Jersey’s Brook Lopez iced the game with two free throws, capping a 17-point performance.
“I saw the time ticking down and I just wanted to get it on the glass,” Mayo said. “I didn’t want to pass out and not get a shot at all.”
Rudy Gay had 22 points for Memphis, and Zach Randolph added 20 points and 16 rebounds in posting his career-high 12th consecutive double-double.
“We had the game and just didn’t finish it out,” Randolph said. “We started out great but broke down defensively in the second half. I don’t know if we got winded, but we didn’t do anything different. We didn’t make shots, not like we did in the first half. We had this game and gave it away.”
Memphis had its chances to grab a road win. Gay missed a 3 with roughly 50 seconds remaining after Mike Conley had two straight baskets to help the Grizzlies close to 88-85.
Vujacic missed a leaner on the Nets’ next possession and Randolph’s layup with 25.3 seconds left made it a one-point game. Harris hit his two free throws and, after Gay went 1 for 2 from the line, Vujacic left the door open by making 1 of 2 foul shots with 7.3 seconds left.
After giving up 53 points in the first half, New Jersey held Memphis to 35 in the final 24 minutes while ending the Grizzlies’ three-game winning streak and preventing them from reaching the .500 mark for the first time since eight games into the season.
New Jersey took the lead for good with a 22-7 spurt that bridged the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. Humphries hit two baskets and got an offensive rebound to set up a 3-pointer by Jordan Farmar in a seven-point run to end the quarter and New Jersey got 3-pointers from Travis Outlaw, Vujacic and Harris in the opening minutes of the fourth.
Harris’ long-range heave as the shot clock went off tied it at 75 with 6:59 to play and his drive down the lane gave New Jersey the lead.
After Conley made 1 of 2 free throws _ Memphis missed five foul shots in the final quarter _ Lopez hit consecutive baskets and Morrow made a 3-pointer in a 7-1 spurt that pushed the lead to 84-77.
The Grizzlies got off to a nice start, hitting 13 of 21 shots from the field in the opening quarter and holding the Nets to seven baskets while taking a 32-16 lead. But Memphis made 22 of 59 shots the rest of the way (.373).
“This is one of those very tough ones to be honest,” Conley said. “It’s one we felt we should have won. We played hard enough to win. We just didn’t have a good fourth quarter, when we needed to come up big.”
NOTES: The Grizzlies are 2-1 on their four-game road trip. After this trip, they won’t play more than two consecutive games away from home the rest of the season. … The Nets shot 9 of 17 from 3-point range (.529). They came into the game shooting .373 from long range.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)