March 24, 2013

NBA Roundup: Celtics lose fourth straight

The Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Jerryd Bayless scored a season-high 30 points and the Memphis Grizzlies weathered a fourth-quarter rally by Boston's reserves to escape with a 110-106 victory over the Celtics on Saturday night.

Seven Memphis players finished in double figures and three recorded double-doubles. Darrell Arthur, starting for Zach Randolph, scored 18 points, while Randolph had 15 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Tayshaun Prince and Mike Conley had 12 points apiece, Conley adding 10 assists, Ed Davis scored 11 points, and Tony Allen added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Conley also had four steals and Davis blocked five shots.

Paul Pierce led Boston with 26 points, while Jordan Crawford keyed a fourth-quarter rally, scoring 14 of his 21 points in the period. Jeff Green finished with 10 points and Jason Terry had 10 as the Celtics suffered their fourth straight loss.

Both teams played without key players. Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee both sat out for Boston with left ankle sprains. Memphis center Marc Gasol is out indefinitely because of an abdominal tear.

And, if the injuries weren't enough, Randolph didn't start for disciplinary reasons, apparently because he arrived late for Saturday's shootaround.

Memphis led 98-77 with 7:16 to play after a 3-point play by Conley. Pierce had gone to the bench with his fifth foul and Boston Coach Doc Rivers had the reserves in, seemingly to play out the final minutes.

But the reserves began a push that pulled Boston within 104-102 after two free throws by Crawford with 18.9 seconds left.

The Celtics never got closer as Memphis converted all six of its free throws in the final 18.5 seconds.

Memphis, which led by 10 at the half, continued to extend the lead in the third, going up by 15 points on several occasions in the middle stages.

As is usually the case with the Grizzlies, defense led to offensive spurts and Memphis forced a handful of turnovers while controlling the pace and eventually leading by 17.

But the Celtics were able to close the third with a bit of a push to trail 85-73 at the end of the period.

Memphis opened the fourth with a 14-4 rally, and the lead reached 21.

But the Celtics reserves weren't ready to give in. They crafted a 21-4 run to get within 102-98 after Crawford's long 3-pointer with 1:14 left.

KNICKS 110, RAPTORS 84: Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, Kenyon Martin had another big game against Toronto, and the New York Knicks finished off a home-and-home sweep of the Raptors.

J.R. Smith added 25 points for the Knicks, who beat the Raptors for the second straight night and won their fourth consecutive game. Martin had 18 points and seven rebounds, a night after he had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Knicks' victory in Toronto that clinched a playoff berth.

PISTONS 92, BOBCATS 91: Charlie Villanueva scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a go-ahead driving layup with 15 seconds left, and Detroit won at Charlotte, N.C., to snap a 10-game losing streak.

BULLS 87, PACERS 84: Luol Deng scored 20 points, Carlos Boozer had 18 and Chicago won at home.

NOTES

LAKERS: Reserve forward Antawn Jamison is day to day with a sprained right wrist after a MRI confirmed the injury.

KINGS: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said his city has reached a preliminary agreement for a new downtown arena with an investment group that hopes to keep the team from moving to Seattle.

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