Associated Press

Tony Allen has season-high 22 as Grizzlies down Rockets 110-105

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HOUSTON (AP) — Tony Allen scored a season-high 22 points, Mike Conley added 17 and the Memphis Grizzlies rallied from a 15-point, third-quarter deficit for a 110-105 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

Memphis led by two late in the fourth quarter before scoring the next five points, capped by a 3-pointer by Troy Daniels, to make it 110-103 with 26 seconds left. A dunk by James Harden came next, but Houston missed two shots after that to allow the Grizzlies to hold on for their third win in four games.

Harden had 27 points and nine assists for the Rockets, who have lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

Memphis was up by one in the fourth when Conley tossed a ball from about halfcourt as he fell into the front row of seats to Allen for a dunk. Conley hit a 3-pointer a few seconds later to push the lead to 101-95 with about 5 minutes left.

The Grizzlies scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, with five from Zach Randolph, to go on top for the first time in the second half, 92-85. Houston got going after that, scoring the next seven points to tie it with about 8 minutes left.

The Rockets led by 15 after an alley-oop dunk by Montrezl Harrell with about 9 minutes left third quarter. The Grizzlies then used a 9-1 run to cut the lead to 71-64 with about three minutes later.

Houston hadn’t scored a basket in almost four minutes when Harrell made a jumper with about 5 minutes left. Consecutive 3-pointers by Eric Gordon helped leave Houston ahead 79-68.

It didn’t take long for Memphis to start another run as Gasol hit a 3-pointer after that to start a 15-5 spurt that got the Grizzlies within 84-83 with about a minute left in the third. Daniels had two 3s in that stretch and Randolph added one.

Sam Dekker made a free throw for Houston near the end of the quarter to leave Houston ahead 85-83 entering the fourth.

Houston made just 2 of 14 3-pointers in the third quarter and shot just 25 percent overall in the period, while the Grizzlies made 5 of 10 3s and shot 65 percent to close the gap.

Houston led 64-51 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Allen fouled out with 3:35 remaining. … Randolph finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds. … Daniels scored 13 points.

Rockets: Gordon returned after missing two games with a toe injury and had 13 points. … Harrell scored 10 points for his ninth double-digit scoring game in the last 13. … Coach Mike D’Antoni received a technical foul early in the second quarter. … Houston has scored 100 points or more in 28 straight games.

NO LOVE

Memphis forward Chandler Parsons did not get a warm welcome in his return to Houston, getting booed loudly every time he touched the ball. Parsons was drafted by the Rockets in 2011 and played three seasons in Houston before leaving for Dallas. He spent two seasons there before joining the Grizzlies this season. He finished with five points, two rebounds and two steals.

 

This story has been corrected to show that the Grizzlies have won three of four, not four straight.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.