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Grizzlies close pre-break home schedule by beating Nets

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In their last home game before the All-Star break, the Memphis Grizzlies had an attitude of finishing official business. They closed the home office known as FedExForum on Tuesday night with a 95-86 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

The Grizzlies improved to 39-13 on the season with their last game before the break coming Wednesday night at Oklahoma City.

“We take every game serious,” said shooting guard Courtney Lee, who scored 11 of his 15 points in the third quarter on 4-for-6 shooting. “We have a goal to try to get to 40 wins before the break.”

Memphis gained a 19-point advantage before the end of the first quarter and was up 73-51 with 2:47 left in the third quarter. The Nets (21-31) used an 11-2 run at the end of the third to slice the lead to 75-62 heading into the fourth quarter. Brooklyn did not get within seven points until the final 1:44.

“We jumped on them,” said Memphis reserve point guard Beno Udrih, who finished with 13 points.

Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph led the scoring with 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Center Marc Gasol added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

“We’re going to go into the break and come back refreshed and ready to compete for a championship,” Randolph said.

Memphis shot 44.4 percent from the field (36-for-81). Brooklyn shot 43.2 percent (35-for-81). The Grizzlies took advantage of 20 Nets turnovers to score 21 points. Memphis led in fastbreak points 23-8.

“That’s all part of it,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said of the turnovers. “They had seven steals at halftime, 14 for the game. But their defense created steals and turnovers. They got a lot of fastbreaks and they are not really a fastbreak team.”

Hollins would know, having coached at Memphis and leading them to the Western Conference Finals in 2013. When he was introduced before Tuesday’s game, photos of his time here flashed on the video board and fans cheered. Hollins turned and waved to the crowd.

“I enjoyed it from the standpoint of the respect that they showed,” Hollins said, adding, “I had closure when I was gone. When I sat out that year, I had closure. I sat out a whole year and I watched a lot of their games. I played golf with (Mike) Conley in the summer and saw Marc.”

Brooklyn played its last game before the All-Star break. The Nets are sitting just outside the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“(The break) is much needed to physically get healthy, and try to come back with a different attitude and see if we can make a late run,” said forward Joe Johnson (11 points, eight rebounds and four assists).

Nets guard Alan Anderson and center Mason Plumlee each scored 15 points, and Plumlee also pulled down 14 rebounds. Guard Jarrett Jack and reserve center Brook Lopez each finished with 12 points.

For the Grizzlies, swingman Tony Allen contributed 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals off the bench. Forward Jeff Green added 11 points and four assists, and reserve center Kosta Koufos scored eight points with 10 rebounds.

“The game was a little sloppy,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. “We’re getting to that point in the season. There is a level of stress in the Western Conference; you just don’t want to let one game get away.”

The Grizzlies expect much resistance in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, given the Thunder are still on the outside of the playoffs.

“That team is thirsty for wins,” Allen said.

NOTES: With the status of the New Orleans Pelicans F Anthony Davis up in the air, there was a chance another Grizzly could get a phone call for the Western Conference All-Star team. PF Zach Randolph was stumping for PG Mike Conley. “I hope they call my young fella. He deserves it,” Randolph said. … With Sunday’s victory over the Atlanta Hawks, the Grizzlies became just the third team this season to beat Atlanta and the Golden State Warriors. The other two teams to pull that off? The San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. … The Nets are shooting an NBA-best 49.8 percent from the field in the first quarter this season. … According to the NBA’s advanced stats, players are shooting 8 percent worse when guarded by Grizzlies G/F Tony Allen.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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