LOS ANGELES (dpa) – Zach Randolph did his damage early and Spaniard Marc Gasol stepped up late to help the surging Memphis Grizzlies bear down and squeeze the life out of another opponent.
Randolph had 13 of his 22 points in the opening quarter with 12 rebounds, Gasol added 10 of his 18 points in the final frame Sunday, and the league-best Grizzlies (15-2) held off the short-handed Sacramento Kings 97-85 for their fifth straight win.
“Zach really carried us for stretches in the first half when we were struggling. He was tremendous,” Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger said. “Marc kicked it in when we needed it at a point.”
Randolph capitalized on the absence of Kings centre DeMarcus Cousins (virus) to have his way inside. The burly forward helped the Grizzlies roar to a quick 21-point cushion en route to a 58-42 halftime advantage.
The Kings regrouped and drew to within 79-76 with six minutes 27 seconds left to play.
But Gasol ran off Memphis’ next eight points with a four free throws around a sweeping hook and a jumper to spark a game-ending 19-6 run, and the Grizzlies had their ninth straight win in the series.
Warriors 104 – Pistons 93
Draymond Green dropped in 20 points, Stephen Curry added 16 with 10 assists, and the visiting Warriors (14-2) rolled to their ninth consecutive win while handing the Pistons (3-14) an eighth straight defeat despite. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s game-high 23 points.
Spurs 111 – Celtics 89
Danny Green netted 18 points and the visiting Spurs (12-4) welcomed back head coach Gregg
Popovich following a two-game absence for a medical procedure, with their seventh straight win after dominating the Celtics (4-10) 33-16 in the fourth quarter.
Bulls 102 – Nets 84
Jimmy Butler tossed in 26 points, Spanish star Pau Gasol added 25 with 13 rebounds, and the
Bulls (12-6) charged past the Nets (6-10) to complete a 4-3 road trip.
LA Lakers 129 – Raptors 122 (OT)
Kobe Bryant collected his 20th career triple-double with 30 points, including six in overtime, along with 12 assists and 11 rebounds, as the West-worst Lakers (4-13) stopped a four-game slide after trimming the East-best Raptors (13-4). Bryant also went into the NBA record books as the first player to reach 30,000 points and 6,000 assists. Kyle Lowry netted 29 points for visiting Toronto (13-3), playing its first game since losing All-Star DeMar DeRozan to a torn tendon in his left groin.
Miami Heat 86 – NY Knicks 79
Dwyane Wade scored 13 of his 27 points in the final quarter after missing seven games with a hamstring strain, and the visiting Heat (9-7) held off Knicks. After having its 16-point cushion cut to two, Chris Bosh (20 points) buried a 3-pointer with 67 seconds left and the Heat handed the Knicks a fifth straight loss. Carmelo Anthony, sidelined the last two games because of back spasms, paced New York (4-14) with 31 points.
Orlando Magic 93 – Phoenix Suns 90
Tobias Harris scored 21 points, Nikola Vucevic added 18, and the visiting Magic (7-12) snapped a four-game slide after holding off the Suns, who cut a 16-point cushion to one in the final seconds.
Slovenian Goran Dragic led Phoenix (10-8) with 22 points.
Blazers 107 – Timberwolves 93
LaMarcus Aldridge had 26 points and 15 rebounds, Wesley Matthews hit six triples en route to 23 points, and the Trail Blazers (13-4) blitzed the short-handed Timberwolves for their 10th win in the last 11 games. Shabazz Muhammad netted 28 points for Minnesota (4-11) playing without injured starters Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, and Nikola Petrovic.