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Randolph leads balanced Grizzlies past Pelicans

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Zach Randolph had 15 points, 13 rebounds and six assists to help the Memphis Grizzlies beat the New Orleans Pelicans 110-74 on Wednesday night.

Jeff Green and Marc Gasol also each had 15 points, and Gasol added six assists and eight rebounds. Beno Udrih finished with 14 points, and Vince Carter and Mike Conley had 10 each.

Anthony Davis scored 12 points for the Pelicans. They dropped back into a tie with Oklahoma City for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Quincy Pondexter had 11 points, and Tyreke Evans 10 in the Pelicans’ most-lopsided loss of the season

The victory came at a time when Memphis seemed to be reeling, having lost four of its last six to drop to the third seed in the West.

New Orleans was playing for the second consecutive night after beating Golden State 103-100 on Tuesday to move into the playoff spot.

The Grizzlies moved into a tie with the Houston Rockets for the conference’s second seed and the top spot in the Southwest Division. The Rockets lost at San Antonio, with the Spurs pulling within a half-game of the Grizzlies and Rockets.

Memphis dominated all aspects of the game, outrebounding the Pelicans 52-39, holding a 58-36 advantage in the paint and shooting 51 percent compared to 35 percent for New Orleans.

In what was by far the best half of basketball for the Grizzlies in some time, Memphis took a 55-36 lead into the break behind 11 points and 10 rebounds from Randolph, who also had five of Memphis’ nine assists.

It was obvious early Memphis wasn’t going to have a repeat of Saturday’s loss to Washington when Randolph took a season-low five shots.

The first half lead was built in the second quarter as the Pelicans missed six of their first seven shots in the frame and converted only 5 of 23 shots in the second. That was part of the Pelicans shooting 30 percent in the half, and scoring 12 points in the second.

The Pelicans had come back from 18-point deficits twice this season, but Memphis continued to stretch the lead in the third, making that a moot issue.

The Memphis lead would balloon to 29 in the third as New Orleans continued to struggle shooting, while Memphis took its percentage over 50 percent.

By the end of the third, Memphis held an 81-55 lead.

That was enough that both teams rested their starters for most of the fourth as Memphis took the lead to as many as 40.

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TIP-INS:

Pelicans: New Orleans had won six of the last eight games in the series. … Davis had averaged 19 points and 9.3 rebounds in previous three games against Memphis this season. … New Orleans owns the tiebreaker over Oklahoma City.

Grizzlies: Conley set a new career record with his 107th 3-pointer in the second quarter. … The 40-point lead in the fourth marked the second time in team history the Grizzlies led by at least 40 points. The previous time was Dec. 13, 2003, when they led the then-New Jersey Nets by 48.

UP NEXT:

Pelicans: Host Suns on Friday night.

Grizzlies: Visit Jazz on Friday night.

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