Basketball / NBA

Grizzlies clobber Nets for third straight win, improve to .500

AP

Josh Jackson scored 19 points and the Memphis Grizzlies ran away from the Brooklyn Nets during the second half of a 118-79 blowout Wednesday night in a matchup of teams trying to maintain playoff position.

Tyus Jones added 18 points for the Grizzlies, who extended their winning streak to three games. Ja Morant scored 15.

The win moved Memphis back to .500 at 31-31, and the Grizzlies are 3½ games ahead of Sacramento for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.

“I think it would mean a lot,” Morant said about making the playoffs.

“We’re a whole new team. We’re young. To make the playoffs again, I can’t tell you the last time they made the playoffs, but for us to make it would be special.”

Taurean Prince had 15 points, while Caris LeVert and Chris Chiozza added 14 apiece for Brooklyn.

Memphis opened the second half on a 12-2 run to take a 64-47 lead and never looked back, building a 41-point lead in the fourth quarter, with the bench unit dancing on the sideline.

The Grizzlies’ Yuta Watanabe, who has a two-way contract and has spent most of the season with the NBA G League’s Memphis Hustle, finished with five points, two rebounds and a steal in nearly 6 minutes of court time in the rout.

“I think collectively we didn’t like our compete level and our spirit wasn’t where it needed to be,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.

“We talked about it in the locker room. The coaches and players had a good old-fashioned . . . great communication. These are the moments where you really have to embrace the adversity.”

Memphis took a 52-45 lead into the locker room at halftime as Jones led the Grizzlies with 10 points. LeVert led Brooklyn with 10 in the first half.

Brooklyn led 23-22 after the first quarter as both teams struggled mightily shooting from the floor.

The Nets are a half-game ahead of Orlando for the eighth seed in the East.

Heat 116, Magic 113

In Miami, Duncan Robinson scored 27 points, all of them coming from beyond the arc, and the Heat hit a franchise-record 22 3-pointers during their victory over Orlando.

Goran Dragic scored 25 points and added nine assists, Kelly Olynyk added 16 on a perfect shooting night and Jimmy Butler finished with 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds as Miami won its fourth straight.

The previous record for Heat 3-pointers was 21, set April 5, 2017, at Charlotte. The 22 3-pointers made also tied the most allowed in a game by the Magic.

Terrence Ross scored 35 and hit a season-high eight 3-pointers for Orlando, which has dropped three straight yet remain in the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Nikola Vucevic scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for Orlando, while Evan Fournier finished with 17.

Even after the 3-point barrage by Miami, the Magic still had a chance at the end.

Down three with 6.2 seconds left after the Heat took the last foul they had left to give, the Magic went to Aaron Gordon — who got a good look at a 3-pointer from the right corner. It hit the rim, Miami controlled the rebound and time expired.

In Other Games

Bucks 119, Pacers 100

Thunder 114, Pistons 107

Celtics 112, Cavaliers 106

Jazz 112, Knicks 104

Timberwolves 115, Bulls 108

Mavericks 127, Pelicans 123 (OT)

Trail Blazers 125, Wizards 104

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