Grizzlies top Warriors for 5th straight win
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Tony Allen realized this West Coast trip might be a little different for the Memphis Grizzlies as soon as he boarded the team bus in San Francisco for the short drive across the bay.
Not much about the team's demeanor changed when the game started, either.
Rudy Gay had 26 points, 12 rebounds and five assists to lead the Grizzlies to their fifth straight victory, blowing past the Golden State Warriors 110-92 on Wednesday night.
"Looking at the way these guys were just locked in on the bus, nobody was really saying too much," said Allen, who had 12 points and six rebounds. "Wasn't nobody talking about no TV shows that was on before. Wasn't nobody talking about anything that didn't have to do with the game, and I kind of noticed that. The focus was from way before the game, and it carried over."
Did it ever.
Marc Gasol added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Marreese Speights scored 18 points to pace the hot-starting and hard-closing Grizzlies, who sprinted to a 21-4 lead, lost it, then built back a 22-point cushion late. Memphis, which shot 52 percent, has won nine of its last 10 games and is gaining momentum for the second straight season after finishing a win short of the Western Conference finals last year.
"If you want to be a good team, you have to win on the road," Gasol said. "You have to come out, execute and be mentally stronger. We're taking steps forward, baby steps, it's a process."
Golden State took another step backward.
Monta Ellis had 16 points and a hobbled Stephen Curry came off the bench to score 15 for a Warriors team that just returned home from a solid 3-3 road trip only to turn in another perplexing performance. Golden State had 15 turnovers and shot just 44 percent, baffling rookie coach Mark Jackson with the often lackadaisical effort.
"As a coach, you don't want to have to coach energy, effort, passion," Jackson said. "They outworked us, and the only way we got back into the game was because, even though we went small, that group competed and they worked. Just an embarrassing effort for us tonight."
The scoring swings started out extreme in this one.
The Grizzlies converted defensive stops into easy baskets, making 10 of their first 11 shots -- almost all layups, dunks or inside the paint -- in a swift and stunning burst of offense. Mike Conley's lob to Gay for a thunderous alley-oop over Dorell Wright for one of his 12 assists, highlighted the 21-4 run in the first 5:26.
"That lies on our first unit and me being a captain I'll take responsibility," said Warriors forward David Lee, who had 11 points and four rebounds.
The home crowd showered the team with boos, and perhaps the frustrated fans awakened the Warriors.
Golden State surged back with a 31-14 spurt to even the score at 35 halfway through the second quarter. Curry, with a strained tendon in his surgically repaired, troublesome right foot still causing fits, tossed a high-arcing lob to Ellis later in the period to help the Warriors take a four-point lead.
The Grizzlies slowly started to pull away again in the third quarter, going ahead 79-66 on Quincy Pondexter's 3-pointer. They just blew away the Warriors in a frustrating fourth quarter for the home team, building a 22-point lead that started to rattle Golden State even more.
Warriors backup guard Nate Robinson and Memphis' O.J. Mayo each were whistled for a technical foul following a brief scrum. Lee and Speights were also called for technicals later in the period with the game out of reach.
The flow of the game reminded Memphis coach Lionel Hollins of the old Warriors teams led by NBA career wins leader Don Nelson.
"It was always the torture chamber. They would come out, and there's such huge ebb and flows in the game," Hollins said. "You play well for a while, then they get hot for a while, then you play well for a while. You just got to stay with it, stay with it. We came out in the second half with a great focus and we didn't let up in the second half like we did in the first half."
NOTES: Grizzlies PF Zach Randolph, out with a torn ligament in his right knee since Jan. 1, is participating in practice again. Hollins said Randolph will play again when "he's ready," but it appears the forward won't return until at least Tuesday when the Grizzlies return home against the Lakers. ... Dominic McGuire started in Curry's place for the second straight game. Curry missed the previous four with the injury.