Grizzlies make strong statement vs. Warriors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis and Golden State are fighting for the same playoff positioning. Memphis is trying to do so with a rebuilt team.

Golden State again failed to prove it can take what it wants from Memphis.

The Grizzlies beat the Warriors 99-93 Friday night to stay in the fifth spot in the Western Conference.

It was the ninth straight Memphis win in the series. Both teams want inside the top four for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Warriors drop to 1.5 games back of Memphis.

Memphis is in the thick of the playoff race, but is trying to find itself all over again after trading away leading scorer Rudy Gay last week.

“It was a baby step in terms of trying to come back and be a good team,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “We haven’t been a good team. We haven’t played with the passion and energy and I thought we did tonight.”

The new pieces are trying to come together on short notice. The Grizzlies are now 2-3 since trading Gay to the Raptors.

Newly acquired Austin Daye had 12 points Friday. He hit 3 of 4 from behind the arc, two straight in the second quarter as Memphis took a 12-point lead. Tayshaun Prince had six.

“Chemistry is not going to pick up between me and these guys overnight,” Prince said. “But you can make up for that with energy and effort and that’s what you saw, energy and effort.

“I can’t tell you how many times I was in the wrong place at the wrong time today but just having a lot of energy and moving, that stuff takes you a long way.”

Hollins has publicly made his frustrations about the trade known but addressed media before Friday’s game to clear the air and debunk rumors that he had a problem with the new ownership.

Memphis and Golden State could be on pace for a first-round playoff matchup. Each had dropped consecutive games entering Friday’s game at FedExForum. Golden State was blown out consecutive times to start a four-game road trip.

“We’re trying to rebuild trust in each other. We’re trying to become a good team again,” Hollins said, “committed to each other and playing for each other and trusting each other.”

Golden State played without Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jarrett Jack and Memphis made more 3-pointers than the Warriors despite four makes from Stephen Curry. Golden State entered the game as the NBA’s best 3-point shooting team. Curry tied a season-high with a game-high 32 points. He made 4 of 9 from deep and had eight assists. David Lee had 26, 20 of them in the first half.

Memphis finished with 26 assists. The Warriors had 18. Tony Allen scored a season-high 17 for Memphis, which also got 14 from Jerryd Bayless. Things got chippy at times, with plenty of contact between big men Marc Gasol and Andrew Bogut under the basket.

“It’s basketball. It’s nothing. They want to win. We want to win,” Gasol said.

Gasol again got the best of Bogut. Gasol finished with a double-double, 20 points and 11 boards. Bogut managed just seven points.

Zach Randolph had a double-double as well, second-best in the league with 30. He had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Memphis. Randolph’s name had been part of the drama Hollins addressed, his name surfacing multiple times in trade talks.

Memphis CEO Jason Levien said during a radio interview before the game that Randolph would remain in Memphis for the remainder of the season.
The Grizzlies  may still look to add another piece before the Feb. 21 trade deadline but will rely on their two bigs to make a playoff run.
In the fourth quarter Friday, Gasol led an 11-2 run that put Memphis ahead 94-88 with 2:51 to play. He had six points in the final quarter.

Curry had just hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put Golden State ahead 86-83. After both shots, Curry jawed back-and-forth with fans on the floor. After the second 3, he tripped over Darrell Arthur’s foot.

Both teams shot well early. Memphis was over 60 percent early in the second quarter. A pair of Bayless 3s and it was 49-35 Memphis midway through the quarter. In its last three games, the Grizzlies were
9-for-28 from behind the arc. Friday, they hit 8 of 20.

“When you have aspirations of…trying to get into that home court advantage, losing three is always going to hurt,” Warriors guard Draymond Green said. “Tonight we had a chance to tie up with the Grizzlies in a playoff race and we failed to do that.”

Memphis led 63-56 at the break, only the second time this season the team has scored more than 60 in the first half, but the Warriors stormed back on a 11-2 run to take its first lead on Bogut’s tip-in.

Memphis took the lead for good on Mike Conley’s 3-pointer to start a
7-0 run with 6:05 to play. After Gasol saved a possession falling into the first row, his hook shot over Bogut put Memphis up 90-86.

“We played inside-out down the stretch. That’s what we’ve been known for the last few years,” Conley said. “We finally kind of got back to the inside-out mentality.”