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Allen's late defense pushes Grizzlies past Nets

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Shortly after the Grizzlies won their seventh straight by holding off Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets 76-72 Sunday, Memphis guard Tony Allen flooded his corner of the locker room by accidentally knocking over a large container of ice water.

The spill put a momentary damper on the moment for Allen, who all but poured cold water on a terrific game by Williams during a seven-second sequence in the closing moments of the game.

Allen blocked Williams' driving attempt to give the Nets the lead with 26 seconds left, and then he was fouled and sank two free throws with 19.5 showing to give the Grizzlies a 74-72 lead.

The Nets had called timeout with the score tied at 72-72 with 35.3 seconds left, and everyone knew that Williams, who led all scorers with 24 points, was going to have the ball in his hands.

"It was obvious who they were going to down the stretch of the game," Allen said. "I had my antennae up and was ready for him to be aggressive. I forced him into the big (guy), and I have to thank Zach (Randolph) for being there to cut off his angle. Once he cocked it back, I was able to get a hand on it, and then I was able to finish at the free-throw line."

Williams fell to the floor while the Grizzlies quickly went the other way. Allen was fouled by Mirza Teletovic on a play that was originally called a basket for goaltending. After a review, Allen was sent to the line and sank both foul shots.

"I tried to be more aggressive, and I didn't settle for a jumper at the close of the game," Williams said. "I tried to get to the lane and attack. I probably got fouled, but I didn't get a call. It was a little bit of a broken-down play, really. I just had to come out and get a little further than I thought and just turned the corner and went down the lane."

Williams then had a pass picked off, and Mike Conley sank both foul shots with 8.2 seconds to go for the Grizzlies, who held the Nets (33-24) to their lowest point total of the season.

"I was struggling early, and missing good looks that I normally make," said Conley, who missed his first six shots of the game before scoring all 10 of his points in the fourth period. "I knew I had to come up big in the fourth quarter if we were going to have a chance to win.

"Tony was phenomenal. He played one of the best point guards in the league defensively, and to come up big with the block and then the free throws were huge by him."

All five starters for Memphis (37-18) scored in double digits, led by Randolph, who had 16 points and 14 rebounds. Marc Gasol had 14 points, Allen ended with 12, Tayshaun Prince had 11 and Conley 10.

"Tony got fouled and hit two big free throws, but the key was our defense," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "I said before the game that the way Brooklyn plays and we play, it could be 76-70, and it was pretty close."

C.J. Watson scored 11 points for Brooklyn, which got 10 from Andray Blatche. Nets forward Reggie Evans grabbed a team-high 14 rebounds, but he finished with just two points.

NOTES: Nets guard Joe Johnson sat for a second straight game with a sore left heel. ... Watson made his second straight start in place of Johnson. ... In the teams' Jan. 25 meeting, the Grizzlies held a 22-point advantage in the paint on the way to a 101-77 victory in Memphis. "They are one of, if not the best, post-up team in the league," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "It's hard to imagine somebody better. It's one of the reasons they get so many points in the paint." ... Evans took exception to how long Memphis kept its starters in the game in the previous meeting. "Apologies to Reggie Evans," Hollins said. "If Reggie Evans wants to take umbrage with what happened with 11 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, he can. I don't take my starters out until I feel that we've won the game." ... The Grizzlies meet the Dallas Mavericks in Memphis on Wednesday. The Nets travel to meet the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday.
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