EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies are playing
so well, they're starting to the benefit of the doubt from the
officials on the road.
James Posey and Pau Gasol scored 19 points apiece and the
surprising Grizzlies took advantage of a non-call by the referees
and three mistakes down the stretch by Jason Kidd to beat the
reeling New Jersey Nets 96-93 Wednesday night.
"What's happening is that we're finally getting the right plays
for the right guys to run the clock and make something happen,"
coach Hubie Brown said after the Grizzlies won their third straight
and handed the Nets their fourth straight loss.
With a record of 9-8, this is the latest in a season the
Grizzlies have been over .500.
In a game that featured 54 personal fouls and 65 free throws,
the Nets were stunned there wasn't one more foul and two more free
Kidd, who missed a free throw and turned the ball over twice in
the final 1:56, didn't get the benefit of his star status when the
officials declined to call a foul as he made contact with Stromile
Swift on an off-balance layup attempt with less than two seconds to
play. The Nets trailed 95-93 at the time.
"The last play was get to the basket and try to get a basket or
get fouled or find somebody open," Kidd said after the Nets lost
at home for the sixth time in eight games. "I thought I did
everything possible to go to the free throw line. Unfortunately,
the referees didn't think so."
Kidd understood that the Grizzlies probably felt he was looking
for a bailout call from either Violet Palmer, Mike Callahan or Gary
"That's basketball at it's best," said Kidd, who had 11
points, nine rebounds and seven assists. "Unfortunately, that crew
missed a good game. It was a good game up to that point."
Richard Jefferson had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Kenyon
Martin added 20 points for the Nets, who rallied from a 12-point
fourth-quarter deficit to take 91-89 lead.
The Grizzlies played their second straight game without point
guard Jason Williams, who is sidelined with back spasms. They also
were without Bonzi Wells, who was acquired in a trade from Portland
earlier in the day.
The Nets, who hasn't led since the opening minutes, used a 17-4
run to take the lead. Jason Collins hit four straight free throws
to give New Jersey a 90-89 edge, and Kidd made one of two from the
foul line to stretch it to 91-89 with 1:56 to play. His miss on the
second shot started a run of bad plays down the stretch.
Posey tied the game with a running 12-footer along the left
baseline with 1:39 to go. Kidd turned the ball over on the next
possession with a bad pass, and Swift slammed home the rebound of
Mike Miller's missed layup attempt with 1:22 to go.
Kidd tried to force the ball inside again on the next possession
and turned it over. The Grizzlies didn't immediately capitalize,
but they did after Kerry Kittles committed New Jersey's third
straight turnover, with Posey scoring on a slam with 39.4 seconds
to go for a 95-91 lead.
Martin scored inside with 34.1 seconds to go to cut the lead to
95-93, and the Nets got a final chance when the Grizzlies turned
the ball over with 6.5 seconds to go.
Kidd took the inbounds pass on the right wing, swung around to
the left and drove. He got the shot up but he didn't get the call,
which is the way the season has gone.<
Miller had six points and seven assists for Memphis, while
rookie Dahntay Jones had seven points, five assists and three
rebounds in his best game as a pro. ... Earl Watson replaced
Williams in the starting lineup and had 12 points and three assists
in a team-high 40 minutes. ... The Grizzlies are 6-5 in 11 road
games. Their franchise record for road wins in a season is 10.