No rest: Warriors tackle playoff-hungry Grizzlies

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No rest: Warriors tackle playoff-hungry Grizzlies

March 30, 2011

WARRIORS (32-43) vs.
MEMPHIS (41-33)

Coverage begins at 4:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

MEMPHIS (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies have missed the playoffs each of the last four years, but they have their sights set on improving their postseason position as the regular season draws to a close.

Memphis' pursuit of a higher seed in the Western Conference continues Wednesday night when it hosts the struggling Golden State Warriors.
RELATED: NBA conference standings

The Grizzlies (41-33) occupy eighth place in the West - two games ahead of ninth-place Houston, but just two games in back of sixth-place Portland and one behind seventh-place New Orleans. A 111-104 victory Sunday against NBA-leading San Antonio was Memphis' fourth in five games, and may be an added boost of confidence down the stretch.

The Grizzlies have gone 10-7 since losing Rudy Gay to season-ending shoulder injury Feb. 15. Gay was averaging 19.8 points at the time of the injury, which happened the day key reserve O.J. Mayo returned from a 10-game suspension for using a banned substance.

Memphis continued to press forward, and is in position to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

"To be a playoff team, you have to be tough. That's requisite number one," forward Shane Battier said. "I think we showed we are a tough team. I would like to play a little smarter. That's the next step. But you have to have toughness, and there's no doubt in this team's toughness."

Zach Randolph recorded his 50th double-double of the season against the Spurs, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Randolph is averaging a career-high 12.4 boards for the Grizzlies, who held off San Antonio's fourth-quarter surge.

"This just shows how far we've come," Randolph said. "Last year, we probably would have let the game slip. We would have put our heads down. This year, we just battle it out. We don't put our head down. We keep our heads up and continue to battle."

Point guard Mike Conley has started all 74 games while averaging a career-high 13.8 points. He had 18 points and 13 assists Nov. 3 in a 115-109 loss to Golden State, which will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

The Warriors (32-43) have lost seven of nine after falling 115-114 in overtime Tuesday against Oklahoma City.

REWIND: Thunder send W's to one-point OT loss

Monta Ellis, who scored 39 points in the November victory against Memphis, missed a jumper at the buzzer. He finished with 20 points on just 9 of 30 from the field and missed 12 shots in a row at one point.

"Sometimes good players may struggle the whole game and they have an ability to lock in late," coach Keith Smart said. "We thought we got the right matchup."

Stephen Curry scored a team-high 35 points, while David Lee added 24 and 15 rebounds. Curry scored 26 points Nov. 26 in a 116-111 Warriors loss to the Grizzlies.

Golden State has allowed at least 100 points in its last nine games, and is 29th in the NBA giving up 106.1 points per game. Memphis is just 12-20 this season when scoring fewer than 100.

The Grizzlies have won four straight and nine of the last 12 against the Warriors in Memphis.

Secret weapon: Warriors dial up more third quarter magic to beat Orlando

Secret weapon: Warriors dial up more third quarter magic to beat Orlando

Superman has his phone booth, Popeye his spinach and Ali had his rope-a-dope. The greats often have a secret weapon to be unleashed upon opponents who dare pose a threat.

The Warriors of the NBA have the third quarter.

Twelve masterful minutes, customarily the third quarter, is all they need to turn all anxieties to swagger and perspiration into perfume.

It was, on cue, the third quarter that doomed the temporarily uppity Magic in a 118-98 victory on Sunday at Amway Center in Orlando.

Tied 50-50 and down five (55-50) 90 seconds into the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 19-2 tear to go up 12 with 6:54 left. Orlando, which had been encouraged by outplaying the Warriors for the first 25-plus minutes, was powerless to prevent the onslaught.

“We found our energy and execution and stopped turning the ball over,” Stephen Curry, who scored a game-high 27 points, including 7-of-13 shooting from deep, told reporters in Florida. “And after that, we got stops and our talent plays over on the offensive end. It is nice to see shots going in obviously, but you have to get stops and take care of the basketball to get that done.”

The Warriors (38-6) shot 41.9 percent for the field and committed 12 turnovers in the first half, leading to 13 Magic points. Only one Orlando starter, point guard Elfrid Payton, shot less than 50 percent and he was 3-of-8.

So the Warriors, whose sloppy first half could be attributed to the usually early start (9 a.m. Pacific), reached for the prescription that best cures their every ailment. They turned to ferocious defense, which generated torrential offense. They outscored the Magic 42-24 in the third quarter, pretty much putting away the game.

“For whatever reason, we’ve had a bunch really good third quarters in the last couple of weeks,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It seems to be the time when we pick up our defense and it translates into some transition hoops and 3-pointers. I don’t know why, but that seems to be the key time for us these days.”

The third-quarter blitzes are more than a trend. It’s becoming an almost predictable act of magic.

The Warriors have outscored opponents in the third in 17 of their last 19 games -- with the margin double digits on nine of those occasions. In seven of those 17 games, they were tied or trailing at the half. They lost only two of those games, to the Cavs and the Grizzlies, to both of whom they blew sizable fourth-quarter leads.

Furthermore, the Warriors’ plus-268 points differential in the third quarter is by far the best in the NBA.

It was, indeed, the third quarter that shook them from the stupor of those early Sunday wakeup calls.

“There was no morning,” Draymond Green said. “It was wake up, grab some food, put on some sweats, and get out of there. I think my bus was 9:30 a.m. That’s 6:30 a.m. West Coast time . . . it was brutal.”

Must be nice to know that even on brutal days, and even after a throwaway first half, they can usually find enough lightning in the third quarter to find victory.

On anniversary of Kobe's 81, Lakers score 73 in franchise's worst loss

On anniversary of Kobe's 81, Lakers score 73 in franchise's worst loss

BOX SCORE

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks had something to prove on Sunday following two straight tough losses.

Coming off a three-point effort in an overtime loss on Friday, Nowitzki scored all 13 of his points in the first half and Dallas gave the Los Angeles Lakers the worst loss in their history, 122-73.

"We didn't show up to play," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "It's embarrassing for us as a team and for us as an organization. The effort just wasn't there tonight, which I don't understand."

The 49-point defeat just edged Los Angeles' two previous worst losses at 48 points, most recently 123-75 at Utah on March 28, 2016.

The Mavericks' winning margin was the third-largest in their history.

It was Dallas' 13th straight win over the Lakers, who have lost six of their last seven games overall.

After a season-best three-game winning streak, the Mavericks had blown a nine-point halftime lead at Miami on Thursday and lost to Utah on Friday.

Nowitzki was 1 for 13 against the Jazz, including a missed 3-pointer that would have tied the game in overtime.

"I looked sluggish the other night on that back-to-back," Nowitzki said, "but took a day off yesterday, didn't do anything. Felt a lot better today."

The game was close for 10 minutes, with Dallas leading 23-22 before the Mavericks scored the next 15 points to blow it open. Nowitzki had seven points during the run. He played just 20 minutes.

Justin Anderson led seven Mavericks in double figures with a game-high 19 points in 16 minutes, his most playing time since Dec. 27.

The Mavericks led 67-33 at the half and never looked back. They both scored their most points and allowed the fewest in a half and a game this season. The 34-point halftime lead was the third-largest in franchise history.

The Lakers scored their fewest points in a quarter, a first half and a game.

"What's deflating is that we didn't guard anybody tonight," Lakers forward Julius Randle said.

Lou Williams led the Lakers with 15 points.

Dallas' Seth Curry scored 14 points, including seven straight in the first quarter.

Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams also had 13 points. Devin Harris and Pierre Jackson scored 10 each. Rookies Jackson and Nicolas Brussino (eight points) each reached career highs.

TIP-INS:
Lakers: They played without D'Angelo Russell, second on the team at 14.3 points per game. An MRI taken Saturday showed a mildly sprained right MCL and strained right calf. That left the Lakers with rookie Brandon Ingram starting at point guard, and they had a season-low 10 assists. ... Larry Nance Jr. (bone bruise, left knee) returned after missing 16 games and scored four points.

Mavericks: Dallas' record winning margin was 123-70 win at home over the 76ers on Nov. 13, 2014. They beat the Knicks 128-78 in New York on Jan. 24, 2010. ... J.J. Barea missed his 26th game this season because of a strained left calf aggravated on Friday. Coach Rick Carlisle said he didn't expect Barea back until after the All-Star break (Feb. 24 at the earliest). Andrew Bogut (strained right hamstring) could return this week, according to Carlisle.

LENDING A HAND:
Mavericks G Deron Williams moved into 20th place in NBA history with 6,715 assists, passing Kevin Johnson. Williams has had at least seven assists in seven straight games; on Sunday, he had eight, seven by halftime.

LONG-RANGE:
Nowitzki tied J.R. Smith for 15th place in 3-point field goals by making one for a total of 1,729.

UP NEXT:
Lakers: Travel to Portland for the second game of a three-game trip on Wednesday night.

Mavericks: Complete a three-game homestand on Wednesday night against New York.