Grizzlies blow big lead, still beat Wizards
Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Nick Calathes and Marc Gasol each had 18 points and seven rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies edged the Washington Wizards by a 92-89 score at FedExForum.
Calathes added six assists while going 8-of-12 from the field in another solid fill-in start for the injured Mike Conley, while Gasol came through with a key late basket to help the Grizzlies prevail in a game in which they squandered a 16-point third-quarter lead.
Zach Randolph donated 13 points and 10 rebounds to the victory.
The Wizards were dealt a third loss in four games despite a career-high 37- point effort from Bradley Beal. Nene finished with 17 points, but All-Star John Wall managed just five on 2-of-10 shooting.
Behind eight points from both Beal and Marcin Gortat, Washington put together an 18-6 run that trimmed its once-sizeable deficit to just four at 70-66 late in the third quarter. The Wizards then opened the fourth on a 12-1 tear to claim an 82-80 edge on a Nene jumper with 5:46 left.
It was the last lead Washington would hold. Calathes hit a floater on the ensuing possession, then delivered a 3-point play shortly afterward before two Randolph free throws put the Grizzlies up 87-82 with just under four minutes remaining.
Gasol's jumper just inside the arc gave Memphis a 91-86 lead with 26.2 seconds to go, but Nene was fouled while converting a layup on the other end and sank the bonus attempt to make it a two-point game.
Beal then knocked the ball off Courtney Lee's leg to give Washington back the ball, but he misfired from the elbow following the inbounds pass and Randolph corralled the rebound with 11.5 seconds showing.
Randolph made the first free throw try but had the second roll out, though Wall missed the mark on a contested 3-point try just before time ran out.
Memphis dominated the final seven minutes of the first half to temporarily turn a close game into a one-sided affair, breaking things open with a 12-2 run that staked the hosts to a 40-30 lead with 4:16 remaining in the second quarter. James Johnson was the driving force behind the spurt, netting six of his 10 first-half points during the sequence.
The Grizzlies closed out the period strong as well, with Randolph and Gasol burying short jumpers on back-to-back possessions that put Memphis up by a 52-39 score at intermission.
Beal poured in 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting over the first two quarters to prevent Washington from falling further behind, then remained hot as the Wizards cut into the deficit in the third.
Beal's previous career high was 34 points, set at Oklahoma City on Nov. 10 ... The Grizzlies finished 23-of-27 from the foul line ... Washington has now lost nine straight in Memphis since a 103-91 win there in November of 2004 ... The Grizzlies moved to 3-5 this season with Conley, who sat out a sixth straight game with a sprained ankle, out of the lineup ... Johnson scored 13 points off the bench.
02/11 23:00:57 ET