EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Here's one sign the Memphis Grizzlies are improving under new coach Marc Iavaroni.
It only took them 14 games to win back-to-back games. Not bad, compared to a year ago when it took them almost a full season -- 73 games -- to string victories together.
"It's good for us," Mike Miller said after scoring 19 points in the Grizzlies 110-103 victory against the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night. "We've worked so hard and been so close. We're getting better, which is huge. We've got to continue to win games."
The Grizzlies are likely to win more, especially with the production they had in snapping a five-game road losing streak and ending the Nets' three-game winning streak.
Memphis had five players in double figures in the game it never trailed, and four others with between six and nine points.
Pau Gasol led the way with 22 points, rookie guard Juan Carlos Navarro had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Damon Stoudamire added 13 points and Kyle Lowry had 10, including a clutch layup with 1:42 to play after New Jersey cut an early 18-point deficit to 99-98.
"We were in a lot of close games this year and were not successful," Gasol said. "It comes down to us growing and improving in those situations and getting more confidence as a young team. I think we're finally getting it together."
Vince Carter scored a season-high 32 points and Jason Kidd added 12 points, 12 assists and 15 rebounds in posting his 91st career triple-double. Richard Jefferson added 27 points for the Nets, who got off to another slow start returning from a West Coast road trip that ended in Los Angeles on Sunday.
"Losing is losing, I don't care what it is, whether we've been here three or four days," Carter said. "This is a tough one."
The Grizzlies seemed to be in control when Gasol hit a jumper with 6:05 to play for a 95-87 lead.
However, Jefferson hit two free throws, Carter made a layup and Jefferson converted a three-point play in a 7-2 run that cut the lead to 97-94 with 3:16 to go.
Jefferson's three-point play was questionable because Navarro seemed to take a charge outside the arc in the lane but all he got for his effort was a foul and an elbow to the face.
Rudy Gay, who scored seven points before fouling out, hit a high-arcing jumper for a 99-94 lead, but Carter scored on a finger-roll in the lane and Jefferson added two free throws with 2:05 to go to cut the lead to 99-98.
Lowry then drove the baseline and scored on a reverse layup for a three-point lead but he missed the ensuing foul shot.
"Juan Carlos found me in the corner and I had the opportunity to drive. I made a good play," Lowry said. "Everybody on this team has confidence in each other. You're not afraid to make a mistake."
Jefferson had a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer, but he missed and Navarro got the rebound and was fouled by Kidd. Navarro made both shots and added another seconds later after grabbing the rebound of a missed floater by Carter for a 104-98 lead.
"That hurt. That hurt. That hurt bad," Jefferson said of his missed game-tying attempt. "All my shots were short. Anytime I made one I was surprised they went in."
New Jersey never got close again.
Memphis shot 51 percent in the first half and went 6-for-9 on 3-pointers in taking a 58-45 lead. The big run for the Grizzlies was a 23-8 spurt at the start of the second quarter. Miller converted a three-point play and hit a 3-pointer to ignite the run.
New Jersey didn't get going until midway through the third quarter.
Trailing 77-65 after Gasol hit a jumper, Carter scored the final nine points in an 11-4 spurt that got New Jersey within 81-76 heading to the final quarter.
|The Grizzlies' Rudy Gay goes airborne for a bucket around Jason Collins. (Getty Images)|
|Memphis (5-9) «||28||30||23||29||110|
|New Jersey (7-8)||25||20||31||27||103|
|MEM:P. Gasol 22 Pts
MEM:J. Navarro 11 Reb
MEM:M. Miller 9 Ast
|NJ:V. Carter 32 Pts
NJ:J. Kidd 15 Reb
NJ:J. Kidd 12 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|M. Miller, SF||42||6-8||4-5||3||9||4||19|
|P. Gasol, C||38||9-15||4-4||6||5||3||22|
|J. Navarro, PG||38||4-12||5-6||11||4||2||16|
|R. Gay, SG||27||3-9||1-2||6||4||6||7|
|D. Stoudamire, PG||24||5-9||0-1||0||6||1||13|
|K. Lowry, SG||24||3-9||4-7||6||2||1||10|
|H. Warrick, PF||18||4-7||1-3||2||0||3||9|
|C. Jacobsen, SG||16||2-3||2-2||2||2||3||8|
|S. Swift, C||13||2-4||2-2||3||0||3||6|
|B. Cardinal, PF||Did Not Play|
|D. Milicic, PF||Did Not Play|
|A. Brown, SF||Did Not Play|
|T. Kinsey, SF||Did Not Play|
|M. Conley, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|J. Kidd, PG||42||5-14||0-0||15||12||4||12|
|R. Jefferson, SF||42||10-21||7-9||4||5||4||27|
|A. Wright, SF||41||5-9||2-3||0||2||3||13|
|V. Carter, SG||40||11-23||8-9||9||7||3||32|
|J. Collins, C||32||3-3||0-0||4||2||3||6|
|B. Nachbar, SF||16||2-8||0-0||4||0||3||6|
|S. Williams, PF||14||2-2||3-5||5||0||4||7|
|J. Boone, PF||7||0-2||0-0||2||0||2||0|
|E. Gill, SG||6||0-2||0-0||2||1||1||0|
|D. Armstrong, PG||Did Not Play|
|J. Magloire, C||Did Not Play|
|M. Allen, PF||Did Not Play|
|N. Krstic, C||Did Not Play|
|M. Williams, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|