Mayo leads way as Grizzlies rally

BY foxsports • March 31, 2009

The Golden State Warriors were down, and Memphis' O.J. Mayo wanted to make sure they stayed there.

Mayo scored 24 points and had a career-high 10 assists, Rudy Gay added 21 points and the Grizzlies rallied from nine points down in the fourth quarter to beat the short-handed Warriors 114-109 on Monday night

"We had a few games this year where teams came in short-handed on us and we got relaxed and comfortable and lost," Mayo said. "They were some guys short and we wanted to come out and play hard and give ourselves a chance to win."

Completing a three-game season series sweep of the Warriors is a definite starting point for the Grizzlies, who won on the road for just the seventh time this season.

Memphis (19-54) did it behind Mayo, Gay and seldom-used reserve Hamed Haddadi, who came off the bench to score all of his career-high 10 points in the fourth quarter when the Grizzlies overcame a 90-81 deficit to win going away behind a late 25-5 run.

Mayo struggled with his shot most of the night, but made a pair of free throws on technical fouls in the fourth quarter and added a driving layup with 2 minutes left to give Memphis a 106-95 lead.

It was just the second double-double of the season for Mayo and marked the first time he reached double figures in assists.

"It's definitely a tremendous sign of growth," said Mayo, a rookie of the year candidate. "We can't make the playoffs and we have one of the worst records in the NBA, so we could have packed it in tonight but we want to get better so this can roll into next season."

Mike Conley added 21 points and six rebounds for the Grizzlies (19-54), who won for just the fourth time in 22 games.

Monta Ellis had 29 points for Golden State, which suited up just eight players for the second straight game and lost its fifth in a row.

"I'm not going to take questions because I don't want to get fined," said Warriors coach Don Nelson, still upset over the officiating in the fourth quarter. "We missed a lot of shots in the fourth quarter and they made a lot of free throws, and that's all I have to say."

The Warriors led 90-81 with nine minutes remaining, but Memphis went on a 12-0 run to take the lead midway through the quarter. Ellis and Nelson were both called for technical fouls during the Grizzlies' burst - Nelson's coming when Ronny Turiaf fouled out after being called for back-to-back fouls in a 2-second span.

Mayo, who made a free throw when Ellis was hit with a technical foul with 7:32 left, made the ensuing free throw to give the Grizzlies a 91-90 lead. Haddadi followed with two free throws before Anthony Morrow hit a 3-pointer for Golden State, but that was it for the Warriors.

Memphis swept Golden State for the first time since 2005-06, and before this season the Grizzlies had dropped seven straight to the Warriors.

"It doesn't mean anything to me right now," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "It doesn't matter who or how many times. It's nice to get a win. We haven't had a lot of them, so to get a win ... it's pretty nice."

The injury-ravaged Warriors were playing short-handed and suited up three rookies. Two others, C.J. Watson and Kalenna Azubuike, have been in the league two years or less.

That left Nelson with few options, a fact the Grizzlies tried to exploit after being held to 66 points in a loss to Portland on Saturday.

Even with the depleted ranks, the Warriors stayed close in the first half behind Ellis and Crawford. The two combined for 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting and scored 12 of Golden State's final 15 points in the second quarter.

But without regular starters Stephen Jackson, scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery on his left big toe, Andris Biedrins (sprained left ankle) and Corey Maggette (head contusion), the Warriors faced an uphill battle and went into halftime trailing 57-53.

"Once we get to playing with one another and get to feel each other out, we're going to be good," Ellis said. "We've got to come together and play as one." It didn't get easier when Ellis appeared to get hurt while driving to the basket late in the third quarter. Ellis, who missed the first 43 games of the season while recovering from offseason ankle surgery, slammed to the floor after getting a shot off and lay writhing on the floor for several moments. He was eventually helped to his feet and walked slowly to Golden State's bench but returned early in the fourth quarter.

It didn't matter.

Memphis controlled the game inside, outscoring the Warriors in the paint 52-42 while holding a 46-39 rebounding edge.


The Warriors went 20-for-20 at the foul line, the first time since 1974 that Golden State was perfect from line with at least 20 attempts. ... Golden State was also without key reserves Marco Belinelli (right ankle) and Brandan Wright (left shoulder). The team may opt to sit Wright the rest of the season. ... Before the game, a moment of silence was observed for the four Oakland police officers killed in the line of duty on March 21. A public funeral for the four was held at Oracle Arena last week. ... The Warriors have been without two of their projected starters in 46 games this season.

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