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Johnson scores 26, Nets beat Grizzlies 97-88

Created: 11/30/2013 11:35 PM WHEC.com

(AP) MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Joe Johnson scored 26 points, Brook Lopez added 12 of his 20 in the fourth quarter, and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 97-88 on Saturday night.

Andray Blatche scored 21 off the Nets bench, making all three shots from beyond the arc. Blatche entered the game 1 for 7 from 3-point range this season.

The Nets snapped a two-game losing streak and handed Memphis its fourth straight home loss.

Quincy Pondexter, who had not played in the Grizzlies’ two previous games, scored a career-high 22 points. Mike Conley had 16 points and 10 assists, while Tony Allen had 13 points.

The Nets led by as many as 16 and withstood a fourth-quarter rally led by Pondexter that pulled Memphis within one.

Both teams played without key forwards. Paul Pierce sat out with a bruised hand for the Nets, and the Grizzlies were without Zach Randolph, who had surgery on an ingrown toenail earlier Saturday.

Not long after Memphis got within 75-74, Brooklyn began getting the ball deep in the post to Lopez, who worked over Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos. Lopez had 11 of the Nets’ 13 points during the middle stages of the fourth.

The Nets used the offensive punch of Johnson and Blatche to carry a 48-37 lead into the break. Blatche was 4 of 7, including a pair of 3-pointers for 12 points, while Johnson led Brooklyn with 18 points, shooting 6 of 10 and missing only one of his four shots from outside the arc.

No Grizzlies had reached double figures. Koufos had eight points, hitting four of his five shots.

Memphis struggled offensively without its two interior strengths, Randolph and Marc Gasol, who is out indefinitely with a left MCL sprain.

Both teams managed to shoot 41 percent in the half.

Memphis, as it routinely does, came out in the third quarter and turned up the defensive intensity and did cut into the Nets’ lead.

But Brooklyn again relied on long-range shooting. When Blatche and Mirza Teletovic connected on back-to-back shots outside the arc, the Nets had extended the advantage back to 71-57.

That helped the Nets maintain a 73-65 lead entering the final quarter. Pondexter scored the final five points of the period.

That was a preview of the start of the fourth, when Pondexter scored Memphis’ first 11 points, cutting the Nets’ lead to 75-74 on a 3-pointer with 9:41 left.

But the Nets, kick-started by two field goals from Teletovic, went on an 11-2 run to extend the lead back to double digits.

NOTES: The Grizzlies are the only Western Conference team with a better record on the road (5-3), than at home (3-6). ... Pierce had missed one other game this season. It was the first game Randolph sat out, although he did leave in the middle of one game to get to the hospital in time for the birth of his son. ... Since Randolph joined the Grizzlies in the 2009-10 season, Saturday night marked the first regular-season game both he and Gasol were out of the Memphis lineup. ... Pondexter’s previous career high in scoring was 17 late last season against Sacramento.



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