Grizzlies 101, Nets 77By Ron Higgins, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Fri, Jan 25, 2013 10:40 PM EST
MEMPHIS -- For weeks, it seemed like the Memphis Grizzlies were thirsting for points. Now, they're drowning in buckets full of buckets. The Grizzlies put up 67 first-half points, built a 30-point lead in the third quarter, cooled slightly and still hammered the Brooklyn Nets, 101-77, on Friday night at FedExForum. Shooting a season-best for the second straight game -- 52.2 percent --- the Grizzlies (28-14) led by double digits for a little more than 36 minutes. Memphis placed a season-high seven players in double figures, led by center Marc Gasol's 20 points, all scored in the first half. Mike Conley added 14 and All-Star forward Zach Randolph contributed 12 points and nine rebounds. Brooklyn (26-17), which lost for just the third time in the past 15 games, was topped by center Brook Lopez, who scored half of his team-high 18 points in the first quarter. It took just seven minutes for the Grizzlies to build their first double-digit game of the lead. And after Jerryd Bayless converted a 3-point play for a 12-point lead with 24.2 seconds left in the first quarter, it didn't get any better for the Nets. The Grizzlies, with their most productive offensive half of the season, a 67-44 cushion, dissected the confused Nets with exceedingly sharp execution. The fact Brooklyn was whistled for just four fouls in the opening half might have been indicative that the Nets' defense didn't get close enough to the Grizzlies to get whistled for fouls. Memphis shot 60.4 percent, and it seemed like no one in a Grizzlies uniform could no wrong, even guys who hadn't played much all year or who hadn't been with the team until a couple of days ago. Rookie point guard Tony Wroten, forced into action this week because Memphis traded three bench players on Tuesday to the Cavs, had eight of his game-total 11 points in the first half including two dunks. Christapher Johnson, signed on a 10-day contract from the NBDL, had seven of his 10 points in the first half. And there was the Gasol-Lopez battle, a showdown of two centers who very easily could have been selected as All-Star reserves. Gasol, who hasn't cared much about being aggressive offensively in the last month, went off for 20 first-half points. Lopez countered with 14. NOTES: There is happiness in the Grizzlies' camp and unhappiness in the Nets' camp concerning the naming of the All-Star reserves. Randolph, who leads the league in double-doubles with 27, was named to the West squad for the second time in the last three years. "I'm more of a garbage man this year than in previous years," Randolph said. "We have a different way of playing now with more picks and rolls, so I dig in more now for offensive rebounds. If coach (Lionel Hollins) wants me to go a different way, I go through a different way." Even Randolph was surprised that the Nets, with the third best record in the Eastern Conference, didn't have a single player selected as a reserve. The biggest snub might have been to the Nets' Lopez, who's averaging 18.6 points and 7.4 rebounds. "I can't believe we sit at No. 3 in the East and we don't get player in the game," said Nets' guard Joe Johnson, a six-time All-Star with the Hawks before being traded to the Nets in July. Nets' interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, who had a 12-2 record heading into Friday's game, said, "I believe the coaches voted the correct way. If they voted the correct way, they must feel we have unbelievable chemistry. I thought the combination where we are right now in the standings and the way three guys (Lopez, Deron Williams and Johnson) are playing makes it hard to understand none of them could be selected."
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