Memphis have continued their winning run against Brooklyn, beating the Kyrie Irving-inspired Nets 132-120 on Wednesday.
For the fifth time in the series the Nets went down to the Grizzlies, despite a 43-point performance from Irving and a 35-point haul and 11 rebounds from Kevin Durant.
Still banned from playing home games because of a New York City vaccine mandate, Irving was on the court for the first time since scoring 60 points at Orlando eight days earlier.
But that arrangement for Irving, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19, is coming to an end with New York City mayor Eric Adams set to lift the mandate for athletes and performers.
Irving turned 30 on Wednesday, but it was his coach who got a gift when news emerged the star could soon play home games.
“I would welcome that,” coach Steve Nash said to laughter.
Desmond Bane scored 23 points, including nine straight as Memphis rebuilt their lead in the fourth quarter.
The short-handed Grizzlies had leading scorer Ja Morant sidelined because of right knee soreness, but they got enough offense thanks to reserve De’Anthony Melton, who matched Bane’s 23 points, and Dillon Brooks, who finished with 21.
The Grizzlies have won six of seven and are second in the Western Conference, and remain the only team the Nets haven’t beaten this season.
Memphis squandered a double-digit lead in the second half but pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Brooklyn 29-16.
The Grizzlies led 76-62 at half-time and by 15 points early in the third quarter, but Brooklyn relied on Durant and Irving to chip away. Brooklyn made 16 of 22 shots in the period and led 104-103 entering the fourth.
Joel Embiid had 30 points and 10 rebounds, James Harden added 24 points as the Philadelphia 76ers hung on for a 126-121 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without LeBron James.
Two nights after the Sixers surprisingly beat Eastern Conference-leading Miami despite playing without Embiid and Harden, both stars returned for a tougher-than-expected win over the up-and-down Lakers.
Tyrese Maxey scored 21 points for Philadelphia, who have won five of seven overall.
James sat out to rest his sore knees, scuttling the potential showdown between the NBA’s leading scorer and Embiid, who was a fraction of a point behind him.
Dwight Howard scored a season-high 24 points and Malik Monk had 23 for Los Angeles in a spirited effort from the supporting cast, but the Lakers lost for the 11th time in 15 games to fall 11 games below .500 again (31-42).
In Boston, Jayson Tatum scored 11 of his 26 points during Boston’s nearly perfect first quarter to help the Celtics roll to a 125-97 victory over the Utah Jazz.
Jaylen Brown also had 26 points, and Marcus Smart had a career-high 13 assists. Boston won their fifth-straight victory to improve their chances for one of the Eastern Conference’s top-four seeds.
RJ Barrett scored 30 points as New York made 20 three-pointers to beat Charlotte, snapping the Hornets’ five-game winning streak.
Obi Toppin had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Alec Bunks added 17 points for the Knicks.
LaMelo Ball had 32 points and nine rebounds for Charlotte.