The Memphis Grizzlies may be more of a finesse team than in years past because of their 3-point shooting, but they went back to their grind-it-out roots to erase most of a 19-point lead before the Wizards held off a late charge to win their 13th in a row at Verizon Center, 104-101, on Wednesday night in front of 15,079.
John Wall posted his 24th double-double (25 points, 13 assists), Markieff Morris has his fourth (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Otto Porter (25 points) did most of his damage in the first half when he had 17. Bradley Beal (12 points) had a rough shooting night at 4-for-14 from the field.
Porter was quiet with just two points in the third quarter, but he knocked down two 3-pointers — two of a career-high six for the game — to stretch the lead for Washington (22-19) back to double-digits.
Marc Gasol (28 points) was the leading scorer for Memphis (25-19) but didn’t make any 3-point shots. It was the center’s three at the end of regulation that sent the Oct. 30 game into overtime that they won. The Wizards led that game 96-88 with a bit more than three minutes left.
Gasol was supported by the play of JaMychal Green (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Mike Conley (20 points, six assists).
The Wizards led 97-89 with 3:11 left in this one and had it whittled to 97-95 after three free throws from Gasol and a three from Conley at 2:34.
But Wall didn’t settle when Gasol switched out onto him for a crucial layup with the shot clock winding down and squeezed through the seam of the help for a layup. After a steal by Porter, Wall pulled the ball back on the baseline and then reversed to attack Gasol again for a layup and a 101-95 lead with 1:45 to seal it.
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--When Wall left the game to end the first quarter, the Wizards were ahead 30-24. When he returned midway through the second, the margin expanded to 48-34 because of another solid performance by the bench with Jason Smith (eight points, three rebounds) and Trey Burke (five points) factoring in early.
--Wall was angry on a no-call on a drive to the basket with 3:44 left in the first quarter and was assessed his ninth technical foul of the season. That puts him at fourth-most in the NBA with 41 games left. If he reaches 11, the penalty will rise to $4,000. Smith picked up his first technical of the season which will cost him $2,000.
--Morris rushed his first two shots of the third quarter when he would’ve been better off passing the ball back out, resetting and then going at his man. The Wizards had trouble dealing with how much more physical the Grizzlies were out of the locker room, not getting their first field goal until 6:51 on a layup from Wall. The Grizzlies were willing to rack of fouls if it meant slowing the pace and they succeeded and had a chance to tie it on a final three from James Ennis. The Wizards had them in penalty early to shoot two free throws on each foul only to attempt six in the period.
--Tony Allen picked up two fouls in a five-second span of the third and had to go to the bench with four fouls. Beal was able to attack aggressive close outs for a pair of dunks but missed chances at all three open 3-point looks. Allen fouled out with 6:16 left.