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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The lack of comments by the Sacramento Kings players on a jump ball with less than 2 seconds left silently said enough about what they thought of the call.
Mike Conley had 25 points and six assists, then grabbed possession of the jump ball to help the Memphis Grizzlies secure a 91-90 victory over the Kings on Friday night.
While the Kings players dodged the question, it was evident Sacramento coach Michael Malone disagreed with the call, crossing the court after the final horn to scream at official Marc Davis.
"I thought it was an awful call," Malone said in his postgame comments. "I didn't see a jump (ball). It looked like to me the official made the call and was running the other way."
The call was important in a tight game that included 17 ties, 11 lead changes and came down to the final possession.
Courtney Lee added 17 points for Memphis, which won its season-best fifth straight. Marc Gasol, in his third game back after missing 23 games with a knee injury, finished with 16 points, and Zach Randolph had 12 points and nine rebounds.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 22 points and 17 rebounds, while Rudy Gay scored 19 points, 11 of those in the fourth, as the Kings built their lead. Isaiah Thomas finished with 14 points and nine assists. Jason Thompson and Derrick Williams had 10 points each.
The jump ball between Gay and Tayshaun Prince on the Kings' end of the court with 1.9 seconds left ended up in Conley's hands. Gasol actually smacked the ball away in the post-jump scramble before Conley grabbed it.
"They tipped it to DeMarcus and (Gasol) was able to get his hand on the ball," Conley said. "I knew if I touched it, I'm just trying to get it out of my hands and throw it as far as I can so I wouldn't get fouled."
The Kings players were very careful not to criticize the jump ball call.
"It was a rough game down the stretch," Cousins said, "that's all I can really say."
When asked about the last call, he replied: "It was a jump ball. I saw what y'all saw. What (did) y'all see?"
Gay responded by saying: "No comment. Anybody that saw it at home saw what happened. You (can) make up whatever you want to make up about that."
Memphis trailed 88-81 with about 4 minutes left, but outscored the Kings 10-2 the rest of the way. In fact, the burst started right after Grizzlies coach David Joerger got a technical, also called by Davis.
Gay took over to start the fourth, scoring the first eight points by Sacramento, then Thomas scored on a reverse layup and a 3-pointer. That matched the Kings' biggest lead at 84-77.
The Kings still held a seven-point advantage after Joerger's technical for arguing a call against Gasol with 4:01 left.
Memphis scored 10 straight points to retake the lead 91-88 with 54.2 seconds remaining. Gay's rebound basket cut the lead to 91-90 with 39 seconds left, setting the stage for the final jump ball.
Neither team was able to build a lead in the game of more than the seven points the Kings held with 4 minutes left.
"We got stops seven of the last eight possessions, and I think I'm counting 10 of the last 13," Joerger said. "So, going down the stretch, the intensity was good. We got deflections, got our hands on basketballs, and came up with loose balls."
NOTES: Memphis has won 13 of the last 15 in the series. ... Cousins has double-doubles in his last 13 games, matching LaSalle Thompson's 13 straight in the mid-80s for the most in Sacramento franchise history. . At 20-19, Memphis is above .500 for the first time since being 9-8 on Dec. 3. .The 90 points by Sacramento marked only the second time in the last 15 games that the Kings scored less than 100.