"It's tough to look over there and know we'd be in the playoffs
now," Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said after scoring
21 points with 13 assists and four steals in a 108-101 victory over
the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night at the FedExForum. "But we
wouldn't trade it. Every game means something."
This game certainly meant more for the Grizzlies (17-19). They are
still without injured All-Star center Marc Gasol and in the deep
waters of the Western Conference. Every home game is a must-win and
with this win their home record is only 9-12.
"This is a huge, huge win," Conley said. "They're a good team. We're
trying to get as many Eastern Conference wins before we get back to
the tough Western Conference teams."
Atlanta (20-18) was down 77-64 with 1:55 left in the third quarter.
The Hawks then went on a 16-0 run and after a 3-pointer from forward
DeMarre Carroll gained an 80-77 lead with 10:11 left in the fourth
"We found a stretch there where we played well," Hawks coach Mike
Budenholzer said. "Our guys competed. It just wasn't our sharpest
The game was tied 84-84 with 8:20 remaining when the Grizzlies went
on an 18-8 run to go up 102-92 with 2:46 to play. The Hawks never
got closer than five points the rest of the way.
Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph posted his 20th double-double
in the last 27 games, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Swingman Mike Miller provided 15 points off the bench. Shooting
guard Courtney Lee scored 15 points in his first start for the
Grizzlies since being acquired from the Boston Celtics.
Since a five-game losing streak from Dec. 11-18, the Grizzlies have
won seven of 11. And they've scored 100 or more points in five
straight games, something they hadn't done since February of 2011.
"We lost five in a row and you start to wonder," Memphis coach Dave
Joerger said. "So to get one win, two wins, we started believing
that the world isn't going to end and we are going to be OK."
Memphis shot 51.8 percent (43-for-83) and was 6-for-15 from 3-point
range (40 percent). Atlanta shot 47.5 percent (38-for-80) and went
9-for-27 from behind the arc (33.3 percent).
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Forward Paul Millsap paced Atlanta with 21 points. Point
guard Jeff Teague finished with 20 points. Carroll scored 15
points, and forward Mike Scott had 15 off the bench. Forward
Kyle Korver extended his NBA-record streak of consecutive games
with at least one made 3-pointer to 107 (he went 1-for-2), and
finished with nine points.
But it was Miller who had the best night from long range,
hitting 3 of 5.
"They don't shoot a lot of threes as a team, so when they hit a
couple it excites them," Korver said. "Mike has done that his
Miller said the Grizzlies have an improving mindset.
"It's coming, slowly but surely," Miller said. "When you go
through situations where you're losing, sometimes you
For most of the fourth quarter, Joerger played Conley and Lee at
the guards, Miller and James Johnson at the forwards, and
Randolph in the middle. Conley scored eight of his points and
made six of his assists in the final frame and Miller scored
eight in the fourth quarter and hit two of his 3-pointers.
Johnson scored four of his seven points and had four boards, two
blocks and a steal while playing all of the fourth quarter.
The .500 mark is now in close sight for Memphis.
"Once we get to .500 that's one goal we can scratch off, and
then on to the next," Johnson said.
NOTES: Memphis PG Mike Conley followed up his 30-point
performance against the San Antonio Spurs with a career-tying
31-point game vs. the Phoenix Suns. Before that, Conley scored
30-plus points just once in his first 469 games. He became the
first Grizzlies player since Rudy Gay (Nov. 2-3, 2010) to have
back-to-back 30-point games. ... Atlanta rookie C Pero Antic
missed Sunday's game with back spasms. Gustavo Ayon took his
place in the starting lineup, and he finished with no points and
seven rebounds in 14 minutes. ... Grizzlies SG Tony Allen missed
his fourth straight game with a sore hand. Courtney Lee started
in his place. ... On Thursday, the Hawks and Brooklyn Nets will
play in London. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said he was trying
to get players both enough rest and practice pre-trip. Once
there, he wants players to experience the culture without
sacrificing the chance to win. "Hopefully," he said, "we have a
good balance and are ready to play."
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