MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After another lost weekend on the road, the Nets had the good fortune of stopping in Memphis and facing a Grizzlies team that, at the moment, can’t find its way too well, either. Thanks to another strong effort off the bench by Sean Kilpatrick and balance throughout, the Nets managed to lay a Beale Street Blues on the Grizzlies, 122-109, on Monday night at FedEx Forum.
It was only the fourth win in 31 road games for the Nets (11-51) and only their third win in the last 32 games overall.
Coming off a 20-point effort in Saturday night’s loss at Portland in which he sizzled from the three-point line, Kilpatrick led the Nets with 23 points, including 16-for-17 foul shooting. Jeremy Lin added 18 points, including a turnaround jumper and a three-pointer to help break open the game late.
“Sean was really driving the ball well, our guys were making big plays and we got a big boost from our bench,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Our starters were struggling in the third quarter and our bench came in and did a great job.”
That it came on the sixth game of an eight-game road swing that still has stops in Atlanta and Dallas made Atkinson’s smile wider. “This is what’s great about the NBA,” he said. “These types of road trips develop toughness, character and togetherness, and hopefully we can end this strong.”
Isaiah Whitehead added 15 points, Randy Foye and Caris LeVert had 14 apiece, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chipped in a dozen. The Nets outscored Memphis 34-18 in the final quarter and notched their first win over a team better than .500 since Dec. 26. Trevor Booker added eight points and nine big rebounds.
“This is the culmination of a lot of people’s hard work, and I’m not even including myself in it,” Lin said. “These guys have battled it out many nights and didn’t get anything for it. But tonight we grinded it out, got the rebounds and made all the little dirty plays we talked about.”
Kilpatrick said “it was a matter of making the correct plays and reading the defense . . . And the best part is I didn’t force anything . . . We’ve been working so hard trying to rack up wins that eventually something had to break.”
The Grizzlies got 32 points from Mike Conley Jr. and 18 from Marc Gasol, but their shooting nosedived from 58 percent at halftime to just over 44 percent for the contest. After Lin got his fifth foul, Atkinson put Le Vert on Conley, and he shot 1-for-6 in the final quarter.
The Grizzlies took a 57-56 halftime lead on a couple of free throws by Gasol, who led all scorers at the half with 12.
Conley went on a 10-point tear in the third quarter, including a three-pointer that put Memphis up 87-76 with a little more than three minutes left. But the Nets continued to hang in, thanks largely to Booker, and entered the final quarter down 91-88.
Then the Nets took over.