Short-handed, but determined Grizzlies still stun careless Cavs

CLEVELAND • The Memphis Grizzlies were missing five regulars -including their top trio of Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph.

But they still had enough to shock LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-103 in the National Basketball Association on Monday.

Tony Allen made a timely return from a knee injury to lead the short-handed Grizzlies with a season-high 26 points. Mario Chalmers and Lance Stephenson chipped in 17 points each and JaMychal Green added 16 points for Memphis (38-25).

The Cavaliers committed a season-high 25 turnovers and were unable to apply any real pressure until the fourth quarter.

"I don't care who you're playing," said James. "It could be my son's little league team and you're going to lose when you give up that many turnovers just from carelessness."

Cleveland's Kyrie Irving had a chance to force overtime, but his three-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim.

The point guard scored 27 points, including 14 in the fourth period. He gave the Cavs their first lead of the contest with 2min 39sec left.

From there, the teams traded the lead four times before Memphis put it away. Allen beat James on a jump ball in the final minute and Cleveland's Matthew Dellavedova was whistled for an off-the-ball foul during a Memphis inbounds pass, giving the Grizzlies one shot and possession.

James finished with a game-high 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists. No doubt it was little consolation that in taking his career points total to 26,406 he moved past John Havlicek for 13th place on the all-time scoring list.

"We're all in this league for a reason," he said. "We didn't respect them tonight and they beat us."

Cleveland, the best team in the East, fell to 44-18.

"The guys played their hearts out," Memphis coach David Joerger said.

"We had guys cramping, but they left it all out there. It's a happy locker room. The phones are blowing up from everybody in Memphis. All of our guys that (are) back home like Marc (Gasol) and Birdman (Chris Andersen) are jumping up and down in their living room right now."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2016, with the headline 'Short-handed, but determined Grizzlies still stun careless Cavs'. Subscribe