WASHINGTON (AP) — Tayshaun Prince was having his best scoring game of the season, and the Memphis Grizzlies were cruising in the fourth quarter, when a loose ball somehow ended up in the hands of little-used Washington Wizards rookie Otto Porter. Porter let it fly to beat the shot clock — and it went in for his first NBA 3-pointer.
"My thought was like, 'Man, if you make that type of shot, then here goes the fourth quarter,'" Prince said.
The Grizzlies led by as many as 19 in the final period, but the Wizards made six 3s over those final 12 minutes. Porter, a career 0-for-10 from long range entering the game, made a second one. The lead was down to two after Bradley Beal's 3-pointer with 8.9 seconds remaining, but time ran out not a moment too soon for Memphis, which made its free throws in the closing seconds to preserve a 110-104 win Monday night.
"The most important thing," Prince said, "is we stay composed."
Prince finished with a season-high 21 points, and Zach Randolph added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who improved to a season-high nine games above .500 and pulled within one game of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Memphis shot 60 percent after the first quarter and outscored Washington 62-34 in the paint for the game.
John Wall scored 23 points, Beal had 21, and Marcin Gortat added 16 for the Wizards, who had a six-game winning streak snapped. Washington had answered a challenge by winning its first three games after losing starting forward Nene to a knee injury, but this time the rotation was also missing forwards Kevin Seraphin (sore right knee) and Martell Webster (sore back).
Which is how Porter ended up getting some major playing time, something scarcely seen this season by the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. He had scored only 39 points all season, and he looked as surprised as anyone when his first 3-pointer went swish.
"I don't know how that went in," he said. "But I had to get it up there."
The Grizzlies appeared in control after a 17-2 run over the final 3½ minutes of the third quarter. Mike Conley (20 points, seven assists) started the spurt with a left-handed driving layup. Both Randolph and Tony Allen converted three-point plays, and Prince hit a 3-point shot as the lead grew to 79-64 entering the fourth.