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Sixers Blow 21-Point Lead In Loss To Grizzlies

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay combined for 17 points in a dominating fourth quarter, helping the Memphis Grizzlies escape Wells Fargo Center with a 99-94 comeback win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Sixers held a seemingly comfortable 21-point lead late in the third quarter and appeared on their way to a season-high fourth win. Then they completely fell apart, committing 11 of their 22 turnovers in a final frame that saw Memphis erupt for 42 points.

The win was the Grizzlies’ fourth in five games and came without the services of O.J. Mayo, who was handed 10-game suspension on Thursday for violating the league’s drug policy.

Randolph ended with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Gay chipped in 16 points in the win.

“We really grinded out [this win],” said Memphis guard Mike Conley. “We showed a lot of grit and determination tonight.”

Jodie Meeks and Jrue Holiday each netted 16 points in the crushing defeat.

The Grizzlies trailed 73-57 heading to the fourth and cut their deficit to 79-72 following a Darrell Arthur jumper with seven minutes left.

An 11-0 flurry a little later gave Memphis its first lead of the half. Gay’s highlight-reel, tomahawk slam made it a two-point game, and Randolph’s three- point play the next time down resulted in an 85-84 edge with 1:45 remaining.

Lou Williams made 1-of-2 free throws to knot things, and Gay got a contested runner to fall at the other end.

A shot clock violation gave the ball back to the visitors, and Sam Young, who accidentally tipped in a Williams miss at the end of the first half, swished a baseline jumper with 31 seconds remaining for a four-point game.

Memphis stayed in front with solid free throw shooting, though a four-point play from Meeks with 7.1 seconds remaining tightened it to 95-94.

Randolph calmly sank two free throws less than a half-second later, and the Sixers appropriately turned it over on the inbounds pass, as Tony Battie’s baseball heave caused Andre Iguodala to step out of bounds to essentially seal the outcome.

“We had complete control of the game,” said Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins. “They went with their second unit, went to a zone, and we just went dead.”

The Grizzlies inched out to a 21-18 lead after the first quarter, though the Sixers won the second stanza and took a 44-40 edge into the locker room.

Philly extended a one-point lead early in the third behind a string of eight straight makes from the field during a 21-2 run.

Meeks hit three from long range during the stretch, Iguodala added eight points and Holiday got in the lane for an easy layup for a healthy 66-46 cushion at the midway point.

The Sixers had won six of seven versus Memphis…Young and Marc Gasol each netted 12 points for Memphis, which received 13 from Conley…Iguodala filled the box score with 12 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Sixers…Elton Brand chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds in the loss…Memphis won the battle on the glass, 41-33, and made 13 more free throws.