Conley carries Grizzlies past Kings, 89-87
Posted at: 04/07/2013 10:35 PM
By: | WHEC.com
(AP) SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Mike Conley scored 25 points, making the go-ahead basket with 30 seconds left and leading the Memphis Grizzlies to an 89-87 victory over the struggling Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.
Memphis made some big plays in the game’s final minute to get the victory, its fifth in six games. The win gave the Grizzlies a four-game sweep of the Kings for the first time in franchise history.
Quincey Pondexter scored 17 points and Marc Gasol had 15 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks for the Grizzlies. Tony Allen scored 12 points.
DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, who have dropped four straight. Isaiah Thomas had 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Toney Douglas scored 14 points and Jimmer Fredette added 13.
Cousins, the Kings’ leading scorer and rebounder, was back in the starting lineup after being relegated to a reserve Friday night against Dallas, when he had six points in nine minutes. It was the first time in 69 games this season that Cousins wasn’t in the starting lineup.
Although no reason was given for the benching, Cousins seemed motivated offensively in the opening quarter, when he had 11 points and four rebounds.
After Memphis took an eight-point lead, the Kings scored seven straight, cutting the margin to 84-83 with 1:25 left on Cousins’ two free throws. On the Kings’ next possession with the shot clock running down, Cousins hit a 21-footer to give the Kings an 85-84 lead.
Following a timeout, Conley penetrated the lane and tossed in a runner to give Memphis an 86-85 lead with 30 seconds left. With a chance to retake the lead, Cousins drove to the basket and Gasol partially blocked his shot, with Pondexter grabbing the rebound.
Cousins fouled Pondexter, who made both free throws for an 88-85 Memphis lead. Thomas scored on a layup for the Kings, but Conley made one of two free throws to make it 89-87.
Gasol blocked Thornton’s shot with a second left to preserve the victory.
It was a rough game offensively for Memphis forwards Zach Randolph and Tayshaun Prince. Randolph shot 4 of 13 and had nine points, and Prince shot poorly as well and finished with three points.
The Grizzlies (52-25) have set a franchise record this season for most victories and are headed to the postseason for a third straight season and for the sixth time in franchise history.
The Grizzlies are 19-7 following the All-Star break, which is the third-best record in the league. They’ve also won 23 of their last 32 games since trading away leading scorer Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors.
Memphis went on an 8-2 run in the fourth, culminated by a Kings turnover and a fast-break dunk by Allen for an 80-73 lead midway through the period.
Following a subpar second quarter defensively, the Grizzlies returned to what they do best _ making it tough for teams to score. Gasol had eight points in the third when the Grizzlies had a 25-20 advantage and took a four-point lead into the fourth.
After a poor opening quarter, the Kings outscored the Grizzlies 28-18 in the second. Fredette scored 10 points and Douglas had eight in the period. Cousins had 11 first-half points, helping the Kings to a 44-43 lead.
Conley had 13 points and Pondexter scored 11 in the first half for Memphis.
Notes: Memphis reserve guards Keyon Dooling and Tony Wroten were back with the team after playing Saturday with the NBA Development League’s Reno Bullhorns. Wroten scored 30 points in the final game this season for Reno. ... Cousins shot 5 of 7 in the opening quarter, while the rest of the Kings shot a combined 1 of 12. ... Kings reserve forward Patrick Patterson didn’t play due to a sore lower back. . Memphis ranks near second in the NBA in fewest points allowed - just under 90 points per game.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)