MEMPHIS (AP) — Marreese Speights had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Marc Gasol also scored 17 points, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-101 Monday night for their fifth straight win.
Rudy Gay scored 15 points, O.J. Mayo had 14, Tony Allen added 13 points and a franchise-record eight steals and Mike Conley had 12 for the Grizzlies, who won their 10th straight at home. Gay and Mayo led a rally that allowed Memphis to finally put the game away in the closing minutes.
The Grizzlies pulled one-half game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for fourth place in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Clippers hold the tiebreaker between the two teams.
Rookie Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting, Antawn Jamison scored 17 points and Tristan Thompson finished with 12. Manny Harris added 11 points, including nine in the fourth quarter as Cleveland lost its second straight and fifth in its last six.
The score was tied at 98 — the 12th tie of the game — when Thompson hit two a pair of free throws for the Cavaliers with 3:27 left. However, Memphis closed the game on an 11-3 run as Cleveland struggled from the free throw line down the stretch.
The Cavaliers used 3-point shooting to build a 10-point lead early in the second quarter before the Grizzlies, who appeared lethargic in the early going, put together a 14-0 run behind its reserves.
That helped Memphis take a 55-52 lead into halftime as Speights had 15 points and Allen 10 — with at least three of Allen’s field goals coming on dunks when Memphis turned up the defensive intensity.
Cleveland started out using accurate shooting by
Irving started off strong, scoring 13 of his 19 first-half points in the opening quarter. He was 7 for 10 from the field, including 2 for 4 on 3-pointers in the first two periods. Jamison added 12 for the Cavaliers, who settled into 45 percent shooting in the half.
Irving continued to score in the third with help from Jamison. Despite Allen having three steals in the period, the Cavaliers led 78-77 heading to the fourth quarter.
The final period started with a handful of lead changes before Memphis created some space behind Mayo and Gay. Harris was able to pull Cleveland back into the game with all nine of his points in the period during the first eight minutes.
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