Washington's Bradley Beal seemed to make every shot he took in setting a career high with 37 points. But then, with the game on the line, he struggled down the stretch.
Nick Calathes and Marc Gasol scored 18 points each, and the Memphis Grizzlies survived Beal's big night to defeat the Wizards 92-89 on Tuesday night.
Beal finished the night converting 15 of 24 shots, but was unable to connect in the closing minutes. He missed five of his last six shots, including a 21-footer with 12.9 seconds left that would have tied the game.
"The past few games, I was too worried about my defender," Beal said. "As soon as I saw the first couple go in, it was a wrap after that. My confidence was high, and I just kept shooting the ball the same way every time.
"I was having fun."
Zach Randolph split two free throws with 11.5 seconds left to give the Grizzlies the 92-89 lead. John Wall's 3-pointer for the tie with about 1 second left rattled around before popping out, giving Memphis the win.
"We were supposed to hand it back to John," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of the final play. "Bradley was going to flare for a three, but we didn't get the hand off back to John."
Randolph, Courtney Lee and James Johnson scored 13 apiece for Memphis, and Randolph grabbed 10 rebounds. Calathes, who started his sixth straight game because of an ankle injury to starting point guard Mike Conley, also had six assists for the Grizzlies.
"Nick Calathes is playing great," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "He makes some mistakes, but I have the ball in his hands and 98 percent of the time, he makes the right play and the right pass. What he's doing right now in leading this ballclub is absolutely tremendous."
Nene had 17 points for the Wizards, while Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat added 10 points each. Wall, who entered the game averaging a team-best 20.1 points, was limited to a season-low five points, making only 2 of 10 shots, missing all four attempts from outside the arc.
"It's terrible that you waste a game like that from (them)," Wittman said of Beal and Nene, particularly citing Nene holding Randolph to 4 of 11 shooting and forcing the Grizzlies forward into five turnovers. "As well as Nene was playing Zach Randolph in the post, it's too bad you waste efforts like that."
Memphis pushed the lead to 16 near the 9-minute mark of the third quarter on a 3-pointer from Tayshaun Prince. But Washington, with Beal continuing to score and Gortat contributing 10 in the quarter, went on a 20-8 burst to make a serious dent in the Memphis margin.
"Obviously, Bradley Beal hits a lot of great shots," Joerger said. "Courtney (Lee) trailed him and bothered him. James (Johnson) trailed him and bothered him. The guy made tough shots."
By the end of the third, Memphis had added a few points to its remaining lead carrying a 79-70 lead into the fourth.
The Wizards were able to pull even at 80 with 6:52 left when Beal's 14-footer, pushed him past his previous career high of 34.
Beal was the major part of the 12-1 Wizards run to give them an 82-80 lead on Nene's 17-footer with 5:46 left. Memphis answered with a 7-2 mini-run to put the Grizzlies up for good, although each team made mistakes in the closing minutes.
"We kept the ball on one side, and they just loaded up," Gasol said of Washington's second-half defense. "We would average two, three passes and played too far away from the basket. We let them do what they wanted to do defensively and made it easy on them.
"But we got away with a win."
NOTES: Conley missed his sixth straight game with a bum right ankle. The Grizzlies are now 3-3 since his injury. ... Beal's previous high was 34 points against Oklahoma City on Nov. 10. ... Johnson recorded his 16th block of a 3-pointer this season near the end of the first half. ... The Wizards have lost nine straight in Memphis and haven't won a road game in the series since Nov. 3, 2004, the night of the first regular-season game the Grizzlies played at FedExForum.