Wizards 89, Grizzlies 86
One of the perks of being an NBA owner is sitting wherever you'd like. In his first year in control of the Washington Wizards, Ted Leonsis often sits next to his team's bench, and on Friday, he watched an ugly game.
While his team shot 38 percent and went to the foul line 35 times, Leonsis got to hear coach Flip Saunders moan about the artlessness of the contest.
''It was like pulling teeth,'' Saunders said. ''I turned to Ted during the game, and said, 'This is like going to the dentist for a root canal.'''
These days, with wins for the Wizards a rarity, any victory is to be celebrated.
Gilbert Arenas scored 24 points and Kirk Hinrich added 22 as Washington got its fourth win in 11 games with an 89-86 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies 89-86 on Friday night.
Playing their third straight game without injured rookie guard John Wall, the backcourt combination of Arenas and Hinrich was able to pull the struggling Wizards through.
''Tonight, it seemed like we were having trouble finding our rhythm offensively,'' Hinrich said. ''It wasn't coming naturally. We were trying to muck up the game, just tough it out.''
Washington didn't secure the win until O.J. Mayo, who had his worst night as a pro, and Mike Conley missed 3-point attempts in the final 10 seconds with a chance to win it.
Arenas guarded Mayo, and the third-year pro missed 10 of 11 from the field and finished with a career-low three points.
The Grizzlies, who lost their fifth straight, committed 29 fouls and put the Wizards on the line early and often. Washington converted 30 of its 35 attempts.
''We have to do a better job without fouling,'' Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.
Trailing 75-71 with eight minutes to play, Arenas and Hinrich scored the next 12 points for Washington. Hinrich fed Arenas for a 3-pointer with 4:16 left that gave the Wizards an 82-79 lead. Andray Blatche, who had 17 points, followed with a three-point play, and Washington led 85-79 with 2:53 remaining.
With Wall sidelined, Arenas played a season-high 39 minutes and was tiring late in the game when Hinrich called his number.
''I blew the play,'' Arenas said. ''I was too lazy to run back and run a play. Kirk passed it anyway.''
After Arenas drilled the 3-pointer, Hinrich shot him a glance.
''He gave me a look like 'Thank you,''' Arenas said.
Memphis was led by Zach Randolph with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The losing streak is the Grizzlies' longest since early last season, and their four-game winning streak against Washington ended.
''We've got to do a better job mentally,'' Mayo said. ''What we're doing ain't working.''
Rudy Gay, who had 20 or more points in Memphis' first eight games, was held to 11 points and had six turnovers.
Washington, 4-2 at home but winless in five road games, continues to have some success against the league's bottom feeders. The Wizards' four wins are against Philadelphia, Houston, Toronto and Memphis - teams with a combined record of 14-37.
Notes: Wall and C Yi Jianlian missed their third straight games. Saunders said that Wall, who's been listed with a bruised left foot, ''still has a little bit of a bone bruise on the inside of his ankle.'' If he can practice on Saturday, Saunders said he hoped Wall could play Sunday at Detroit. Yi, who has a bruised right knee, said he doubted he could play Sunday. ... Memphis G Greivis Vasquez, who was a star at the nearby University of Maryland, scored five points in his first game as a professional here. Vasquez was greeted by cheers each time he touched the ball and was hugged by teammate Tony Allen during the ''Kiss Cam'' promotion on the scoreboard.