Grizzlies 103, Wizards 101
They helped build a 13-point lead after three quarters, but the trio was on the bench at the start of the fourth.
The Grizzlies scored 10 straight points before coach Eddie Jordan put the starters back in, and the run became 24-2 before the momentum was finally stopped. Two late clutch baskets by Pau Gasol finished the job in Memphis’ 103-101 victory Wednesday night.
“It was good to play with a full deck,” said Jordan, who activated Arenas from the injured list before the game. “We had a 13-point lead, and it was my decision to give those guys a rest, and it just didn’t work out because our bench didn’t hold the fort down.”
“It was an awesome turnaround,” Jordan added. “Maybe I managed the game the wrong way at that point, but I’ll take the hit if I did.”
James Posey made five of six 3-pointers and scored a season-high 31 points for the Grizzlies, who gave coach Hubie Brown his 500th pro victory—396 in the NBA and 104 in the ABA. They need one more win to tie the franchise record of 28 set last season, and they tied a franchise mark with their 10th road victory.
They also improved to 8-8 all-time against the Wizards, making the Washington the only team in the NBA without a winning record against them.
“When we ran that 24-2 run it was because of the defense, but more important: only one shot,” Brown said. “They only got one shot, and it was kicking long, so we had so many 4-on-2s and 3-on-2s that it opened up the corners. And when you open up the corners against us, you know we’re a 3-point shooting team.”
The Wizards recovered from the Grizzlies’ big run and tied the score at 97 when Brendan Haywood made two free throws with 1:25 to play. But Gasol backed in on Kwame Brown to put Memphis back in front with 1:08 left. After Haywood mishandled a pass for a Wizards turnover, Gasol made it a four-point lead on a 16-footer from the left wing with 26 seconds remaining.
“We go 24-2 and go up nine, and the next thing you know it’s tied,” coach Brown said. “If you travel with us, you know that’s how we play. We go up; we go down. If you can figure it out, write me a note, will you? So I won’t get an ulcer.”
The victory spoiled the return of point guard Arenas, who energized the Wizards in a game played at a torrid pace from start to finish. Arenas, who missed 26 games in three stints on the injured list with a lower abdominal strain, had six assists. He was a rusty 3-for-15 from the field and scored nine points.
Hughes scored 27 points to lead the Wizards, but he took only one shot in the fourth quarter. Stackhouse, in his second game back after missing 45 gamesrecovering from knee surgery, scored 19.
Stackhouse played the first quarter with his name misspelled on his jersey—“Stackhuose” instead of Stackhouse—before the Wizards got him a replacement from the locker room. … Memphis guard Mike Miller had a recurrence of back spasms and did not play in the second half. … Grizzlies center Jake Tsakalidis did not travel with the team because of the flu. … The Wizards are 2-4 with one game remaining on their season-long seven-game homestand. … There were 10 blocked shots in the first half, seven by theGrizzlies.