Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/27/12
MEMPHIS -- If a team wants to go deep in the NBA playoffs, it's got to win games even when it appears totally uninspired, at least early in a contest. That's exactly what the Memphis Grizzles did Monday night at FedExForum, recording an 84-78 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers after Memphis trailed for the first time this season entering the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies, with an NBA-best 10-2 record, were outhustled the first three quarters, and they faced a seven-point deficit. However, they opened the final period with six consecutive points, and they made just about every play in the stretch. Memphis closed the game on a 10-2 run in the final 5 1/2 minutes. The Cavs made just one of 10 shots, the lone basket coming on an Alonzo Gee follow dunk with 44.5 seconds left to cut the Memphis lead to 80-78. After a timeout, Grizzlies backup point guard Jerryd Bayless, playing for starter Mike Conley, who sat out with the flu, drilled an 11-foot jumper off a screen with 23.8 seconds left. The Grizzlies were home free eight seconds later when guard Tony Allen swiped the ball from Cavs' center Anderson Varejao as he made a spin move to the hoop. "That's the grit in The Grindhouse," Allen said of the seemingly uninspired Grizzlies finally getting their act together in the final quarter. "With Mike Conley being down, that's the true definition of 'grit and grind.' We never gave up. We didn't want to let this one slip away." For three quarters, the Cavs did everything the Grizzlies usually do. They got almost every loose ball, they pounded the offensive glass and they got a spark from two bench players. And then there was Varejao, who had 15 points and 22 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end. Neither of the Grizzlies' primary big men -- Zach Randolph, who had 19 points and 8 rebounds, and Marc Gasol, who had 19 points and 6 rebounds -- could keep Varejao off the boards. "We had a chance," Varejao said, "but we've got to play smarter in the fourth quarter. We are playing as good as them for three quarters, and we lose in the last two or three minutes." The Cavaliers led 47-42 at halftime, and a lot of it had to do with effort. Cleveland played like a team starving for a win, having already lost four games by four points or fewer, including a 110-108 defeat to defending the NBA champ Miami Heat on Saturday. Memphis led by as many as eight points halfway through the first quarter, but the Grizzlies became rather casual in their efforts on both ends of the floor. The Grizzlies definitely missed Conley, whose explosive first-step breaks down defenses and often jumpstarts his team when they are lethargic. "Jerryd did an admirable job, and hit some big shots late," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said, "but we missed Mike big time. When you play these teams that are up and coming, you remember what we were as a team trying to get to this point. When you play somebody good, you want to show you belong." The Cavs (3-11) pushed the Grizzlies to the limit until Memphis' smothering fourth-quarter defense limited Cleveland to 20 percent field goal accuracy (4-for-20). Allen's defense in the final quarter inspired his Grizzlies' teammates. Seven times in the final 12 minutes, Memphis had three consecutive defensive stops. "Tony Allen is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, and he made it very tough on us in the last quarter," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "We got stagnant." Notes: Conley missed Monday's game with flu-symptoms, and he was replaced by Bayless, a five-year veteran who signed as a free agent in July. Bayless entered Monday's game averaging 7.3 points and 2.7 assists, shooting a career-high 44 percent from three-point range. Bayless scored 6 of his 9 points vs. the Cavs in final quarter, and he also had 6 assists, 3 turnovers and 2 blocked shots. On his 11-foot jumper that sealed the Grizzlies' win with 23.8 seconds left, he said, "I got a good look and I let it fly. But I shot terrible and I didn't play well. It was my fault we were in the hole." ... Randolph had his double-double streak stopped at 11 games. ... Former Grizzlies guard Jeremy Pargo started for the Cavs and finished with 9 points and 3 assists. ... Memphis' 33 rebounds tied the season low it had in a loss to Denver on Nov. 19. ... Varejao's 22 rebounds were one shy of his career-high set against Washington on Oct. 30.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration


Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Robert Griffin III on QB battle: Only one of us runs 4.3

Gordon defends friendship with 'good friend' Manziel

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

Five NFL teams set to underachieve in 2016

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker