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Nets Pass the Baton to Beat Grizzlies

January 26th, 2011

NEWARK, N.J. The Nets capped a 4-1 homestand with a 93-88 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. No Net scored 20-plus points, but five players finished in double figures. Rudy Gay (22 points, six rebounds) paced Memphis in defeat. The loss broke a three-game winning streak for the Grizzlies.

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Nets Pass the Baton to Beat Grizzlies
This one looked like it slipped away early, when the Nets allowed the Grizzlies to shoot a scorching .619 (13-of-21) in the first quarter Wednesday, doubling up the Nets' 16 points. But the Nets' bench which would outscore Memphis', 56-12 helped the team to chip five points off the lead in each of the middle quarters.

That offered Brook Lopez and Devin Harris time to find their games in the fourth, when they scored 19 of 33 Nets points as the team came back to win, 93-88, at Prudential Center. The victory marked the Nets' fourth in the last five games, closing out a successful homestead and leaving the team with a .500 (11-11) mark at "The Rock."

"I just wanted to say a special thanks to all of our fans that showed up tonight," said Nets coach Avery Johnson. "The weather is not good, and (the box score) showed that we had 8,000-plus fans here tonight, but it felt like 18,000 in the second half. So thanks for helping us pull this game out. It was really great to hear how enthusiastic our fans were and see how they came out in this inclement weather to help give us this victory."

Those in attendance (along with any others watching on TV), saw a 48-minute basketball relay race, in which a series of Nets carried the load for stretches and enabled the team to outperform Memphis as the game wore on: the Grizzlies shot just .373 (22-of-59) in the final three quarters.

Jordan Farmar kicked off the second quarter creating opportunities for his teammates, tallying three assists, including one that set up a three-pointer for Anthony Morrow, whose 10-point quarter carried most of the scoring load. Backup center Johan Petro added three buckets of his own, willing in a jumper at the 24-second buzzer with a hopeful body lean midway through, setting up a third quarter in which the Nets struggled (8-24 FGs), but the Grizzlies struggled more (5-19 FGs).

As the quarter came to a close, with the Nets trailing by 13, forward Kris Humphries grabbed an offensive rebound and found Farmar for a three. Moments later, he snagged a second offensive board he would finish with four (seven total) and hit a jumper. After a third straight stop, Humphries took a drive-and-dish assist from Farmar with an empty lane, slamming it through to complete a 7-0 run that left the Nets down six entering the final period.

Harris and Lopez dominated the fourth quarter, nearly matching Memphis' scoring total (Grizzlies: 22, Lopez/Harris: 19) while playing their inside-out game to perfection. Harris penetrated (4-4 FTs, 4 assists) while Lopez scored several big buckets, perhaps none more crucial than the two free throws that left the Nets up by four with 1.4 seconds left.

"We had a full team effort tonight," Harris said. "We got off to a lethargic start, and I really thought the bench came in and 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 and making strong moves. We got Anthony going and we were hitting on all cylinders at some point in the fourth quarter."

By game's end, Morrow led the team with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including a 3-of-4 showing from three-point range. Overall, the Nets shot 9-of-17 (.529) from deep, with Farmar also hitting three triples (in five attempts). They ended up holding the Grizzlies to .438 shooting below the .440 mark Johnson aims for and fought hard enough to come within two rebounds of matching one of the league's top outfits.

"We've got good mental and physical energy," Johnson said. "We do not make multiple errors on consecutive possessions. We are swinging the ball on offense. I can keep going on and on, but right now the spirit of our team is at an all-time high, just in terms of all the things we're trying to implement and change this culture. We're seeing some of the product of some of our hard work, on and off the floor."


NETS NOTES The Nets' 4-1 homestand was the team's first since Feb. 4-12, 2006...In addition to outscoring the Grizzlies' bench, the Nets' subs outscored their own starters (56-37)...The 16-point comeback marked the team's biggest of the season; they had previoiusly come back from 12 down three times.

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