- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MEMPHIS, TENN. (AP) - Rudy Gay scored 25 points and Mike Conley added 22 to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to their first home win since the All-Star break, a 112-107 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo scored 18 points apiece. Gasol grabbed nine rebounds, and Mayo had seven assists. Hakim Warrick had 12 points.

Caron Butler had 31 points for Washington, which lost its third straight, while Antawn Jamison had 28 points and 10 rebounds. Reserve Nick Young had 16 points and Javaris Crittenton finished with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.

The Grizzlies were up 110-107 with 3.9 seconds left after a free throw by Gay, but Washington had the ball out of bounds. Conley stole the inbounds pass and hit the ensuing two free throws for the Grizzlies’ second straight win and third in their last four.

The Wizards were without guard Gilbert Arenas, who continues to play in selected games resting his surgically repaired knee. But Washington did have the services of center Brendan Haywood, who played in his first game this season after surgery on his right wrist last October. Haywood played 24 minutes and had two points, missing five of his six shots from the field.

Memphis led by 15 at the start of the fourth period. Butler, who had 14 in the quarter, connected on a 3-pointer and later a 20-footer to tie it at 105 with 1:23 left.

Conley’s two free throws with 24 seconds left gave Memphis the lead for good at 107-105.

Memphis held its biggest lead of the game, 88-73, entering the fourth period, but Washington opened the quarter with a 17-5 run. The Wizards connected on six consecutive free throws, four by Jamison, to get within 93-90

The game pitted two of the worst teams in the NBA. The Wizards are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have only the Clippers and Sacramento Kings below them in the West.

Memphis used a spurt in the second quarter to carry a 57-50 lead into halftime. Memphis ran off 10 unanswered points to build its first double-digit lead, eventually reaching 55-42 after Conley converted a pair of free throws with just over 2 minutes remaining before the break.

Washington chipped away at the Memphis lead in the early stages of the second half even though the shot selection was questionable and the intensity waning.

“C’mon, wake up. Let’s go!” Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott yelled from the bench as Memphis began to rebuild its lead, which eventually reached double digits again.

Gasol added eight points in the third quarter, Gay had seven and Quinton Ross’ 22-foot jumper as the horn sounded at the end of the period gave the Grizzlies their 88-73 lead, their biggest of the game at that point.

Notes:@ Part of the reason Arenas didn’t play against the Grizzlies was because of the Wizards’ home game Thursday against the Cavaliers. Tapscott said since Washington is playing a back-to-back, it was only fair that the Wizards fans get to see Arenas play rather than while Washington was on the road. … Former Grizzlies guard Crittenton was in the starting lineup for Washington. Crittenton was obtained in a three-team trade between Memphis, Washington and New Orleans in December. … Memphis reserve G Marko Jaric did not dress because of flu-like symptoms. … The talk around Memphis still is about former University of Memphis coach John Calipari leaving for Kentucky. Asked kiddingly if he was in line to interview for the Tiger post, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins replied: “I have no desire for that job. And I feel for the next coach, walking in behind a guy that won (61) conference games in a row, has been to an Elite Eight and a Final Four.” … Jamison has reached double figures in 71 straight games.



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