MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets relied on Joe Johnson early, Brook Lopez late and mixed in Andray Blatche to snap a two-game losing streak.
Johnson scored 26 points, Lopez added 12 of his 20 in the fourth quarter, and the Nets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 97-88 on Saturday night.
The Nets had dropped seven of eight, including a 114-95 loss at Houston on Friday night.
"I'm glad guys came out with the mindset and attitude that we had to leave here with a win," Johnson said.
Johnson scored 16 points in the first quarter. Blatche took over through the middle stages, finishing with 21 points off the Nets bench and making all three shots from beyond the arc. The backup center entered the game 1 for 7 from 3-point range this season.
"It was just in the course of the game," Blatche said of his long-range success. "The shot presented itself, and I took it. It's all about playing the game. Don't think, just react."
While the Nets snapped a two-game losing streak, Memphis dropped its fourth straight at home. Johnson hurt the Grizzlies early as Memphis failed to come out with energy, despite Brooklyn playing the second night of a back-to-back.
"By and large, we eased into the game instead of coming out and playing with a lot of energy and hitting first," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "We stood around a lot and kind of got lulled into their game."
Quincy Pondexter, who had not played in the Grizzlies' two previous games, scored a career-high 22 points. Mike Conley had 16 points and 10 assists, while Tony Allen had 13 points.
"I don't care about that," Pondexter said of the performance. "I just hate for our team to lose. . It would have felt better if we got the win."
Both teams played without key forwards. Paul Pierce sat out with a bruised hand for the Nets, and the Grizzlies were without Zach Randolph, who had surgery on an ingrown toenail earlier Saturday.
Not long after Memphis got within 75-74 in the fourth, Brooklyn began getting the ball deep in the post to Lopez, who worked over Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos. Lopez had 11 of the Nets' 13 points during the middle stages of the fourth. Lopez returned Friday night against Houston after missing seven games with a right foot sprain.
Continue reading this story on the...