NBA: Adams game-winner gives Memphis 11th straight win, Denver down Wolves

The Memphis Grizzlies celebrate with centre Steven Adams after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers at FedExForum. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES – Memphis Grizzlies centre Steven Adams became an unlikely hero on Wednesday night as they clinched a last-gasp 115-114 National Basketball Association win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The New Zealander grabbed his career-first game-winning basket as the Grizzlies rolled to a franchise record-equalling 11th straight victory, earning praise from his coach.

“That was his first game-winner, he’s definitely hyped,” said Taylor Jenkins. “There was a lot going on in that game.

“Two competitive teams playing pretty high-level basketball, definitely ebbs and flows, highs and lows, but in the end we made the plays.”

Adams was on hand to tip-in at the basket after an attempted layup by Ja Morant with under 17 seconds remaining at the FedExForum in Memphis.

Memphis small forward Dillon Brooks then conjured a crucial block to thwart Cavs point guard Darius Garland’s attempt at a buzzer-beating three-pointer.

“(Adams) has been doing what he’s been doing all season... manning the boards,” Morant said. “He got us the win.”

Brooks credited the entire team for the triumph, saying: “We’re always up for the physicality, we’re ready to play. We’ve got a bunch of dogs over here who are ready to play every single night.

“We’ve got to keep playing with physicality, keep playing with heart and effort, and keep playing together.”

Memphis’ 11th straight victory equalled the team’s longest streak set last season. It leaves them with 31 wins and 13 defeats in the Western Conference, just behind leaders Denver (32-13).

Desmond Bane led the Grizzlies scoring with 25 points while Morant added 24 with eight assists. Jaren Jackson Jr posted 15 points while Adams finished with a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Elsewhere, Nikola Jokic posted a 31-point triple-double as Denver ensured they remained on top of the West with a 122-118 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Nuggets’ eighth consecutive win also went down to the wire, however, with Minnesota (22-24) leading by five points at 118-113 with under three minutes left at Denver’s Ball Arena.

But the Nuggets finished with a 9-0 run to keep their winning streak intact.

“We love it, but we know we can improve, and we can see we have ups and downs in a game,” Jokic said of Denver’s form.

“Fourth quarter is the winning time and I’m just glad we always deliver when we need it.”

In Los Angeles, LeBron James delivered another high-scoring performance but it was not enough to stop the Lakers slipping to a 116-111 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

James, who is on pace to overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in February as the NBA’s all-time leading points scorer, finished with 32 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

But the Lakers slid to their 25th defeat of the season after a solid Kings performance that saw De’Aaron Fox score 31 points. AFP

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