NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Pelicans’ offense hit a cold streak at the worst time.
Mike Conley hit a driving layup against Austin Rivers with 1.5 seconds remaining to complete Memphis’ 9-0 run over the final 3:22 and the Grizzlies escaped with a 90-88 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.
Conley initially drove to his right, and then split the lane before pulling up just short of the goal for his game-winning basket..
The Pelicans were out of timeouts and Rivers missed a long desperation shot as time expired.
“It’s very sweet,” said Conley, who scored 16 points in leading the Grizzlies to their fourth consecutive win. “We knew who they had on the floor. They were going to switch the pick-and-roll. I ended up splitting it and having a lane.”
The undermanned Pelicans, playing without guards Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon, missed five shots and committed one turnover during the final 3:22.
“It’s tough,” Rivers said. “We felt like we had the game won. We should have known better. They are a veteran team.”
Anthony Morrow missed a 3-point attempt with 14.3 seconds remaining, setting up the Grizzlies for the winning shot.
“It felt great,” Morrow said of his missed shot. “I was open, just a little bit off.”
Marc Gasol added 15 points, and Zach Randolph and Tony Allen 13 each for Memphis.
Anthony Davis scored 29 points, including 22 in the first half, for the Pelicans, who had won their past three games. Rivers scored 14 points, Brian Roberts 12 and Morrow 10 for New Orleans.
Davis, who turned 21 Tuesday, added 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.
“The last few minutes we could not get anything,” Davis said. “We couldn’t run a play. We had a couple of bad shots, turned the ball over.”
After taking a 57-48 halftime lead, the Pelicans were held to 31 points in the second half, equaling their second-quarter output. New Orleans, which scored 14 points in the final quarter, finished with 17 turnovers and 16 assists.
“We just couldn’t score,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. “We couldn’t get into an offense. We kind of went away from the things that we’ve been doing, pushing the ball down the floor off stops.”
Memphis juggled its defense against Davis in the second half, using Tayshaun Prince, then James Johnson. The ploy worked as Davis, who was 8 of 11 in the first half, finished 9 of 14.
“I thought that was effective but it was an effort thing,” Memphis coach David Joerger said. “We didn’t play hard enough or with enough energy in the first half. Then, in the second half, we picked up more energy. We went small a little bit just to kind of junk up the game.”
Davis was dominant in the first half, scoring 22 points. He displayed his full arsenal, scoring underneath or stepping out and hitting the open jumper.
Randolph led the Grizzlies with 12 points and four rebounds in the half. He was 5 of 7, taking advantage of his matchup against the Pelicans’ Alexis Ajinca.
NOTES: The Pelicans made all of 22 of their free throw attempts, the first time they were perfect from the line since March 18, 2013, against Golden State. It was the second most free throws made while staying perfect in franchise history.
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