- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 4, 2009

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Rudy Gay scored 26 points, helping the suddenly surging Memphis Grizzlies hold off the Milwaukee Bucks 107-102 on Saturday night.

Gay looked unstoppable in spurts for the young Grizzlies, who equaled a season high with their fourth straight win and continued to build momentum under coach Lionel Hollins, a former Bucks assistant who took over as the Grizzlies’ head coach in January.

Marc Gasol added 19 for Memphis.

Richard Jefferson scored 24 for the Bucks, who remain mathematically alive _ just barely _ for the playoffs but now would need to win their final four games and wind up in an unlikely multiteam tie for the final spot to get in.

Memphis led by 20 after a powerful one-handed dunk by Gay with 7:44 left in the third quarter. But Milwaukee closed to within single digits to begin the third quarter, and trailed 100-91 after a driving layup by Jefferson with 3:02 remaining.

Ramon Sessions’ pullup jumper cut the lead to 7, but Greg Buckner answered with a 3-pointer. A furious 9-2 Milwaukee run then cut the lead to 105-102 with 40.4 seconds left and Memphis committed a shot-clock violation, but Charlie Bell missed a potential tying 3-pointer with about 7 seconds left.

Bell finished with 23 points for Milwaukee, and Mike Conley had 17 for Memphis.

With Gay leading the way, Memphis took control with an 19-7 run midway through the second quarter. Gay scored 10 of the Grizzlies’ points _ including a pair of 3-pointers _ during the scoring surge, which gave Memphis a 43-31 lead with 2:15 left in the half.

Conley then launched a barrage of his own, hitting three 3-pointers in the final 1:55 of the first half to give the Grizzlies a 54-38 lead into halftime.

Memphis built its lead despite 10 turnovers in the first half _ including a few that careened awkwardly out of bounds or went into the Grizzlies’ bench.

Gay had 14 first-half points and didn’t slow down after halftime.

Gay scored another eight points in the first five minutes of the third quarter, including a slick turnaround jumper and a powerful windmill dunk off a fast break that caused a kid in the front row to holler, “Rudy! That was nasty!” during a subsequent timeout.

Memphis led by 20 after Gay’s big play, but Milwaukee went on a 16-3 run over the next four minutes and went into the fourth quarter down by 9.

Saturday’s game was a homecoming of sorts for Hollins, who was hired away from Bucks coach Scott Skiles’ staff to replace Marc Iavaroni on Jan. 25.

Notes:@ The Bucks announced that center Andrew Bogut would sit out the remainder of the season because of a lingering back injury. Bogut had back spasms after a game Dec. 17 against Philadelphia and played sparingly after that until tests revealed he had a stress fracture.

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