Grizzlies 102, Kings 85
Although securing a playoff berth may be a long shot, the youthful Memphis Grizzlies are clearly not just counting the days until the end of the regular season.
Zach Randolph had 25 points and 12 rebounds to continue a late-season surge for the Grizzlies, who used an inspired second half to beat the Sacramento Kings 102-85 on Monday night.
Memphis (38-33) has won two straight and eight of 11. But with only 11 games remaining, the Grizzlies may have a tough time catching Portland for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth. They are in ninth place and trail the Blazers by four games.
``We'll keep playing hard and play it out; it's the NBA so you never know what will happen,'' Memphis guard O.J. Mayo said. ``We're just trying to win as many games as we can.''
Playoffs or not, it's already been a successful season for the Grizzlies, who won just 24 games a year ago. With seven of their 15 players either rookies or in their second year, the Grizzlies are getting it done with a collection of young talent and the play of Randolph, who has numerous team records in his first season with Memphis.
Randolph added one more against the Kings when he gathered in a third-quarter rebound to establish a new franchise high for total rebounds, passing Shareef Abdur-Rahim's 1999-00 mark of 825. Abdur-Rahim is an assistant coach with the Kings.
``That's cool. It means a lot to me,'' Randolph said. ``I pride myself on rebounding. It's better when you set a record and you also get a win.''
The win might not have come without the streak shooting of Mayo, who missed 11 of his first 14 shots, but got going midway through the fourth quarter. With the Grizzlies leading by a point, Mayo made four straight jumpers and scored 10 points in just over two minutes, including a pair of 3-pointers that put the Grizzlies ahead 92-83 with 3:28 remaining.
``I was struggling. I was getting the shots I thought I could hit, but they weren't falling for me,'' said Mayo, who had 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. ``The guys did a great job of setting screens and getting me going a little bit.''
Rudy Gay scored 17 points, Mike Conley had 12 and Hasheem Thabeet added 10 for the Grizzlies, who outscored the Kings 51-33 in the second half. The Grizzlies won for only the third time in Sacramento in franchise history, improving their record to 3-26.
Carl Landry scored 23 for the Kings, who have lost three of four. Beno Udrih had 18 points and 10 assists, and Spencer Hawes added 13 points.
``O.J. Mayo had about four straight buckets, he had some good plays,'' Kings veteran Francisco Garcia said. ``I was surprised we just ran out of gas at the end. They have a lot of talent and are a good young team.''
The Kings start a five-game road trip Wednesday against New Jersey and don't play another home game until April 3 against Portland.
The Kings played their second straight without injured Tyreke Evans, who leads all rookies in scoring (20.3). Evans suffered a mild concussion, a bruised jaw, lacerated gums and chipped teeth after taking an inadvertent elbow going for a loose ball in a March 19 double-overtime loss to Milwaukee.
Evans will also miss Wednesday's game in New Jersey, but could return Friday in Boston.
``I saw where they're (Kings doctors) anticipating his return probably in Boston, that would be great,'' Kings coach Paul Westphal said. ``But we don't want to rush him at all. We want him when he's completely healed.''
Randolph scored eight points in the third quarter, when the Grizzlies outscored the Kings 24-18 and took a 75-70 lead into the fourth.
Landry scored 13 first-half points and Hawes had 11 for the Kings, who ran off 16 unanswered points in the second quarter and led 52-51 at the half. Randolph scored 13 points for Memphis and Gay had 11.
NOTES: The Grizzlies were without starting center Marc Gasol, who missed his third straight game with a strained neck. ... Trailing by 16 points in the second quarter, the Grizzlies finished with a 19-4 run to pull within one by halftime. ... The Kings are 2-5 when Evans hasn't played this season.