Grizzlies 144, Warriors 135
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—As long as the Memphis Grizzlies want to run, interim coach Tony Barone isn’t going to bog them down with too many set plays.
“We got tired halfway through the third quarter,” Barone said. “I saw some eyes starting to cross in the huddle. So I asked them: ‘OK, would you like me to start calling plays from here on in?’ They said no, so I said: ‘OK, start running again.’ There’s no magic in coaching.”
The 144 points was a Grizzlies franchise record and the most points scored by an NBA team in regulation this season. That’s quite a change from a team that used to rely on defense and halfcourt offensive sets that left the Grizzlies as one of the lowest scoring teams in the league under Mike Fratello, who was fired as coach last week.
Miller connected on 11 of 15 shots, including 9-of-12 from 3-point range. Gasol shot 9-of-14 as Memphis connected on 56 percent from the field and 55 percent from 3-point range. Stromile Swift had 26 points and nine rebounds, and Rudy Gay added 22 points for Memphis. Damon Stoudamire had 18 points and 16 assists.
“Every once in a while it is good to be lucky,” Miller said of his shooting performance. “The guards did a good job of driving the ball and dishing it back out. They are the ones that should get credit when I’m out there making open shots.”
Miller’s nine 3-point field goals were the most in his career and a franchise record.
The victory overshadowed a career-high 36 points by Golden State’s Matt Barnes, as seven Warriors scored in double figures. The forward, in his fourth season out of UCLA, entered the year averaging 3.7 points and has a 10.6 average for the season.
But he scored 29 Tuesday night against the Hornets, and Wednesday’s total marked the fourth time in the last six games he’s scored at least 20 points.
“It’s (coach Don Nelson) having confidence in me,” Barnes said. “You ask any player. It the coach is behind you 100 percent, the best part of your game is going to come out. Early on in the season, I was looking over my shoulder if I made a mistake and wasn’t sure if I was going to be in or not. Now that he has confidence in me, no matter how I’m shooting, he tells me to keep shooting.”
Azubuike was signed by the Warriors on Tuesday after averaging 26 points with the Fort Worth Flyers of the NBA Development League. Andris Biedrins had 12 points and nine rebounds before fouling out.
The Warriors led 122-119 with 5 minutes left when the Grizzlies put together a 16-5 run keyed by three 3-pointers from Miller. Gasol finished off the run with two free throws with 1:52 left to make it 135-127, sending Memphis to its second win in three games under Barone.
“Defensively, we didn’t do our jobs in the fourth quarter against Miller,” Nelson said. “He got open and made the hard shots. We should have done a better job of not allowing him to get open. He had a truly amazing performance.”
The Warriors led 68-67 at halftime.
Several times Memphis failed to get back on defense, leading to easy Golden State baskets as the Warriors sent someone flying to the offensive end even after a made Memphis basket. That contributed to 29 fast-break points in the first half for Golden State.
Barnes benefited from several of the Grizzlies’ defensive lapses, scoring 23 in the half.
Miller and Barnes continued to match each other in the third period. The Grizzlies reached the 100-point mark with 2 minutes left in the third and carried a 101-99 lead into the final period.
It marked the first time the Grizzlies had reached the century mark before the fourth since November 2004.
“They’re drastically different,” Dunleavy said of the new Memphis look. “They are trying to push the ball. They’re trying to take every shot that’s available. I’m sure the guys on the team like playing it. Defensively, they are giving up more points, but offensively, they can really score.”
The teams combined for 68 attempts from 3-point range, one shy of an NBA record. …The Warriors’ starting lineup with Azubuike at guard marked the 18th different opening five for Golden State. Azubuike missed his first six shots before hitting two in a row. … Memphis has allowed at least 100 points in the last nine games. Opponents are averaging 112 points in that stretch. … Gay started his 10th game of the season and connected on the first shot of the game. …Golden State’s 135 points was a season high and second-highest by a Grizzlies opponent in franchise history.