for this game

Grizzlies clip Nets to finally win a close one

Nov 28, 2007 - 5:30 AM By Carl Dispoto PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) - The Memphis Grizzlies were finally on the winning side of a nail-biter.

Pau Gasol led a balanced offensive attack with 22 points as the Memphis Grizzlies held on for a 110-103 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

The Grizzlies are one of only two NBA teams to lose four games this season by three points or less and were in danger of losing another close contest after squandering an 18-point lead against the Nets.

The Grizzlies never trailed and appeared to put away the game when Gasol buried a jumper for a 95-87 cushion with just over six minutes to go. But the Nets scored seven of the next nine points and Richard Jefferson's three-point play made it 97-94 with 3:16 left.

Jefferson sank a pair of free throws to bring New Jersey within 99-98 at 2:05, but Kyle Lowry made a reverse layup at the other end and was fouled. Lowry missed the free throw, but Jefferson misfired on a wide-open 3-pointer at the other end and the Nets could not secure the rebound.

Rookie Juan Carlos Navarro and Mike Miller combined for eight free throws in the final 75 seconds as Memphis secured its first winning streak of the season. The Grizzlies did not win consecutive games last season until March 29.

"That's something we set as a milestone," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said of the winning streak. "We wanted to have a good week on the road and this was a good start. Hopefully, we'll have much higher goals."

Miller scored 19 points and Navarro finished with 16 and a season-high 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who shot 50 percent (38-of-76) overall and made 11-of-22 3-pointers.

"Being in a lot of close games this year and not being very successful I think when it comes down to it, we're going to grow and we're going to improve and we're going to get better in those situations," Gasol said. "We're finally getting confident in what we're doing out there and feeling confident about winning."

Vince Carter scored a season-high 32 points and Jefferson had 27 for New Jersey, which lost in its return home after winning the final three games of a four-game Western Conference road trip.

"It's disappointing, especially because we thought we had found something we could start building on coming off the road," New Jersey point guard Jason Kidd said. "We put ourselves in the hole and we just could never get a stop when we had to."

Kidd collected 12 points, 12 assists and 15 rebounds for his fourth triple-double of the season and the 91st of his career, but the Nets dropped their fourth consecutive home game.

"We've always played well here and we've always had some kind of home court advantage for the last five or six years," Kidd said. "But right now it's been a disadvantage and we have to fix that."

The Grizzlies' high-powered offense overwhelmed the Nets in the first half, when they shot 51 percent (21-of-41) from the floor and 6-of-9 from the arc. Gasol and Miller combined for 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting in the half

Memphis pulled away with a 17-3 run midway through the second quarter, making 6-of-8 shots during a span of 4:18. The Nets shot just 1-of-7 during the stretch including a pair of airballs from Kidd and the Grizzlies took their largest lead at 51-33 on a runner by Gay with five minutes to go.

But the Nets rallied in the third quarter behind 13 points from Carter, who led the team in scoring for the first time this season. He made 3-of-7 shots and 6-of-6 free throws in the period, nailing a fallaway 3-pointer in the final seconds to bring New Jersey within 80-76.

Jefferson and Carter combined for 21 points in the fourth and Bostjan Nachbar nailed a pair of 3-pointers, but New Jersey could not slow Memphis, which made 8-of-16 shots and 12-of-16 free throws in the final period.

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