MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Jameer Nelson understands why the Memphis
Grizzlies are in the playoff picture.
"They wanted it more, I think," said Nelson, who had 11
points. "They played harder, especially in the fourth quarter.
They executed well, and we didn't."
Memphis matched its win total from last season with its 24th
victory and is a game behind San Antonio for the sixth spot in the
Western Conference postseason standings.
"We have beaten Cleveland, Denver, Dallas and Portland,"
Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said of the Grizzlies' 17-5 record at
home. "We have a lot of special wins this year. This one was just
as special as any of the rest we have had."
The teams were tied at 94 after Randolph's tip-in with 1:34
left. Gay then locked up Nelson on the ensuing Magic possession,
and won the jumpball, leading to his reverse layup for a 96-94 lead
with just under a minute left.
"Conley hurt us late," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He
was by us on pick and rolls. Then, Rashard gave up the back cut [to
Gay]. That sort of wrapped it up. That took it to four [points].
What are you going to say? The guy just got beat on the back cut."
Gasol's layup and free throw with 21.4 left stretched the lead
to the final score, ensuring the Grizzlies would extend their
franchise-record home winning streak.
The physical game led to both teams shooting under 47 percent --
Memphis 46 percent, the Magic 42 percent. Orlando had 19 turnovers.
"The turnovers are creeping up, and it's every game," Van
Gundy said. "It's tough because we're putting so much pressure on
ourselves at the offensive end, and we're not shooting the ball
"Then when you have 18, 19, 20 turnovers every night, it's
becoming a real problem," he said.
Memphis closed the half with a 24-6 rally and took a 52-50 lead
at intermission thanks to Randolph's shot from 63 feet at the
buzzer. Randolph grabbed a rebound on Carter's miss from 13 feet,
dribbled to the middle of the floor and heaved a high-arching
attempt from the top of the key on Orlando's end and swished the
The shot stood after an officials' review.
Defensively, the Magic pushed the Grizzlies in the post. Lewis
was denying the interior pass to Randolph early, and Howard was
banging with Gasol in the middle.
"I expect him to play like that," Howard said of the physical
play with Gasol. "He's a physical player. He's a good actor too.
Physical, but he's good at acting."
Memphis matched the intensity after Orlando built its biggest
lead, 44-28, starting a rally that ended with Randolph's shot.
"They came out more ready than us," Gasol said of spotting the
Magic the 16-point first-half lead. "We executed well, but we
weren't taking care of the basketball. As the game went on, we
played a lot tougher and we started moving the ball better."
Grizzlies C Hamed Haddadi was on the active roster to
help Memphis defend Howard. Hollins said he wanted to have all of
the post players he could in case Howard's play put the Grizzlies
in foul trouble. ... Howard, who leads the league in blocks at 2.52
a game, almost reached his average on one Memphis possession. He
swatted DeMarre Carroll's attempt at the rim, then got Sam Young's
drive at the basket. The two blocks eventually led to a shot clock
violation. Howard recorded his 33rd double-double, including six
straight. ... Redick left the game with 7:15 to go after his head
collided with Memphis F Sam Young's knee on a play under the
Grizzlies' basket. The resulting cut took five stitches to close.
Redick returned to the game. ... The Grizzlies 11 consecutive home
wins equals the longest streak in the NBA this season. The Lakers
and Cavaliers also won 11 straight at home earlier in the season.