Grizzlies 116, Warriors 111

The experiment of bringing O.J. Mayo off the bench is turning

into a winning formula for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Rudy Gay scored 25 points, Mayo provided a spark for the second

unit with 23, and the Grizzlies withstood a late rally to beat the

Golden State Warriors 116-111 on Friday night.

Mayo, who served in a reserve role for the third straight game,

shot 8 of 14, including 2 of 5 outside the arc. Memphis has won a

season-high three straight, all with Mayo coming off the bench.

”He makes shots,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ”That’s

what he does. He’s a shot-maker. He came out aggressive and made

them.”

Mayo said he has been taking extra shots to break out of a

shooting slump and still seems to be adjusting to his new role. But

in each of the three games, the Memphis reserves have set a new

season high for bench scoring. Against the Warriors, the Memphis

reserves outscored the Warriors bench 45-24.

Mayo indicated he is becoming more comfortable, even offering a

nickname for the second unit.

”In practice we do a good job now of pushing the first team,

understanding we are the second team, but we ain’t no slouches,”

Mayo said. ”We’re coming into work every day. They kind of call us

the Goon Squad.

”We’re coming in and working hard every day, and if Coach looks

down the line to one of the guys on the second team, he’s not

afraid to put us in because we’ve already prepared ourselves in

practice.”

Golden State center Andris Biedrins had season highs of 28

points and 21 rebounds. Stephen Curry added 26 points, while Monta

Ellis added 23 points and eight assists for the Warriors, who lost

their fifth straight, and seventh in their last eight.

Curry’s two free throws with 11.6 seconds left pulled the

Warriors within 112-111. But Gay and Mayo both hit a pair in the

final 11 seconds to seal the victory. Dorell Wright’s 3-point

attempt could have tied the game at 114 with about 4 seconds left,

but it was off the mark.

”It didn’t go down. You can’t be mad at it,” Ellis said.

”That shot didn’t cost us the game. We have to move on, and move

forward to the next (game).”

Zach Randolph and Mike Conley had 14 points apiece for Memphis,

while Marc Gasol scored 12.

Jeff Adrien had 12 points off the Golden State bench.

The Warriors played their eighth game without forward David Lee,

who is still recovering from an infected left elbow. Lee will meet

the team in Minnesota on Saturday night when the Warriors face the

Timberwolves.

That was a major difference for the Warriors, especially

inside.

”You take Zach Randolph off (the Grizzlies) for a long period

of time, and that is kind of how Lee is for us,” Warriors coach

Keith Smart said.

Biedrins worked hard inside all night to provide an offensive

punch and a 44-33 Golden State advantage on the boards. But it

wasn’t enough, as Memphis was able to keep the Warriors at bay down

the stretch.

”We had a real good opportunity to win this game, and we just

had a couple of mental mistakes that we shouldn’t do,” Biedrins

said.

Memphis made its first five shots from the field and missed only

two of the initial 11 to build an early 13-point lead. But the

Warriors survived the opening Memphis flurry, and Golden State’s

guards got untracked from outside, hitting three of their first

four shots from beyond the arc. That helped erase the Memphis

lead.

Biedrins already had surpassed his season high in points midway

through the second quarter and had 14 points and 11 rebounds at

intermission.

Ellis led Golden State with 16 in the half, while Curry added

13, the two guards combining to hit 5 of 7 from 3-point range. But

Memphis got a burst from Mayo, who hit five of his first six shots

in the second quarter and scored 11 points as Memphis took a 63-53

lead at the break.

Biedrins scored 10 points in the third, but Memphis still

carried an 87-82 lead into the fourth.

The Warriors still had one more rally, and almost overtook

Memphis.

”I thought we were right there,” Smart said. ”We came back in

this game three times. We had to claw our way back in the game to

make it a game three times. With the effort (the Warriors) are

giving, they are playing extremely hard all the way through the

game, so you can’t fault the effort.”

NOTES: Hubie Brown, who coached the Grizzlies from 2002-04 and

led them to their first playoff appearance while winning coach of

the year honors in the final season, received a standing ovation

while calling the game for ESPN2. … There were no further updates

on the status of Memphis C Hamed Haddadi, who was arrested early

Thursday on a charge of domestic assault after a fight with his

girlfriend. Haddadi was inactive for the game as he was for the

previous 10 games, but he was on the Memphis bench in street

clothes. Ellis lives in the Eads community east of Memphis and had

his teammates out for Thanksgiving dinner. Ellis bought the house,

once owned by the late Lorenzen Wright, last spring, a couple of

months before the former center’s death. …The Warriors are now

1-7 with Lee out. Biedrins previous high point performance was 10

on Nov. 10 against the Knicks.