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Nets use 3-ball to down Grizzlies
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Joe Johnson scored 21 points and led a torrid shooting display from the perimeter for the Brooklyn Nets, who continued their strong second half of the season with a 103-94 triumph over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Brooklyn went a scorching 15-of-26 from 3-point range in its fourth straight win, with Johnson making 5-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc and Marcus Thornton going 4-of-5 in a 20-point effort off the bench.
Deron Williams tallied 16 points, seven assists and four steals in a game the Nets led wire-to-wire and were ahead by as many as 30 points at one stage.
Playing without leading rebounder Zach Randolph due to illness, the Grizzlies got a mere 24 points out of their starting unit. Jon Leuer paced Memphis with 19 points, while Marc Gasol had 18 along with seven rebounds.
Brooklyn's offense was clicking right from the start, with Paul Pierce sinking a pair of threes and Johnson hitting one during a 21-2 game-opening run that the Grizzlies never recovered from. Memphis helped put itself in the big early hole as well, turning the ball over five times while missing 9-of-10 field goal tries over the course of the sequence.
The Grizzlies were able to close the gap later in the half by virtue of a 14-0 tear that cut the deficit to 30-26 early in the second quarter. Memphis was still down by four when Thornton accounted for all of Brooklyn's points during an 8-2 swing that put the Nets up 45-35 with under 4 1/2 minutes to go before the break.
Brooklyn took a 54-44 advantage into intermission, then put the game away with a dominant third quarter in which Johnson dropped in 11 points and the Nets shot 60 percent from the floor.
Johnson and Thornton each buried treys during a 12-2 flurry to start the session, with Thornton's triple staking Brooklyn to a 66-46 lead. An 11-3 surge later on sent the Nets ahead by a commanding 81-53 margin with 3:54 left in the frame, and it was a 30-point spread before Tony Allen's long-range bucket brought Memphis within 87-60 entering the fourth quarter.
With the Nets resting most of their regulars, the Grizzlies outscored Brooklyn 34-16 in the final period to make the outcome more respectable. Leuer and James Johnson led the way with 12 points each during the quarter.
Jason Collins, signed to a second 10-day contract by the Nets prior to the game, saw 17 minutes of playing time but did not record a point ... Brooklyn center Kevin Garnett missed a third straight game due to back spasms ... Johnson, who sat out the Grizzlies' win at Washington on Monday with a sprained ankle, finished with 12 points in 14 minutes ... The teams combined for 42 turnovers, with each giving the ball away 21 times ... Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month on Wednesday. He averaged 10.7 points, 4.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds in February.
03/05 22:38:39 ET