The New Jersey Nets got off to a slow start, trailing the Memphis
Grizzlies 32-16 at the end of the first quarter on a turnaround jumper by Rudy Gay, but the Nets would come alive both offensively and defensively, taking the lead for good on a 77-75 lead on a lay-up by Devin Harris, on their way to a 93-88 victory, their fourth in five games at home.
“We had a full team effort tonight. I thought we got out to a
lethargic start and I thought the bench came in the second quarter and really gave us a boost, again in the third quarter as well. I thought Brook did a great job of closing us out tonight, being aggressive, making strong moves” said Harris.
Brook Lopez scored 10 points in the fourth quarter after a slow start. “We really emphasized at halftime just moving the ball and trying to get the best look we could” Lopez said. On his chemistry with Harris, Lopez responded “Devin just makes my job so much easier. He just gets to the rack without a problem and draws the defense.”
Anthony Morrow led the team with 19 points off the bench, on 8-12 from the field, including three 3’s. Harris nearly missed his eighth double-double of the year, with 13 points and 9 assists. Lopez finished with 17 points, while Kris Humphries added 14 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. Sasha Vujacic scored 14 points off the bench, and Jordan Farmar dished out 7 assists off the bench.
When asked about Morrow possibly moving to the starting lineup, Nets Coach Avery Johnson confidently said no. “We don’t want to tinker with anything. We’re feeling pretty good, this was a good home stand for us. Right now we just have to keep riding this momentum” he said. Morrow agreed. “Guys take pride coming off the bench.”
The Memphis Grizzlies were lead by Rudy Gay with a game-high 22 points and 6 rebounds, but missed a key free-throw that would have cut it to 90-89 with 9.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Zach Randolph had his franchise-record and career-high 12th consecutive double-double, with 20 points and a game-high 16 reounds. Marc Gasol added 12 points and 6 rebounds, and Mike Conley scored 16, while grabbing 5 rebounds and dishing out five assists.
“The Nets played great defense. They trapped the ball well and got the ball out of our hands” Rudy Gay said. Regarding the second half, in which they scored 35 points, after scoring 32 in the first quarter, Gay responded “We just got stagnant. We played how they wanted us to play. When we got to the line, we couldn’t convert.”
The Grizzlies were attempting to reach the .500 mark again with a win. “It’s very disappointing. Most of the game we all thought we should have won” Mike Conley said.
Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins was very complimentary to the Nets after the game. “They never quit playing, you have to give credit to Coach Avery Johnson for changing the culture here. They play hard even when they are behind 11 points. We could never get the lead up large enough that some of those guys might’ve quit playing.”
The Nets have not finished a home stand 4-1 in almost five years, when they went 4-1 from February 4, 2006 – February 12, 2006.
On the home stand, Lopez led the team with 20.8 points per game,
Harris led the team with 8.6 assists per game, and Humphries led the team with 10.0 rebounds per game.