Mayo’s 4th quarter spurs Grizzlies win

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WASHINGTON (AP)—O.J. Mayo(notes) needed some time to get up to speed.

Playing for the second time in two nights, the Memphis Grizzlies guard had two points at halftime and no energy in his legs—his early jump shots barely reached the front of the rim.

A dive for a loose ball in the second half turned things around. The play gave Mayo a jolt, and his fourth-quarter scoring energized Memphis in a 99-94 win against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

“Sometimes Coach says when you’re not feeling it, dive on the ground and try to wake yourself up,” Mayo said. “From that point on, I felt pretty juiced up.”

Mayo scored 17 points, 10 in the fourth quarter, to help Memphis win its third straight road game.

Before Mayo found his legs on offense, the Grizzlies’ big men carried the load. Zach Randolph(notes) scored 22 points, and Rudy Gay(notes) and Marc Gasol(notes) each scored 20.

Gasol, who scored all of his 20 points in the first three quarters, made his first 10 shots and finished 10 of 11 from the field. He missed both of his free throws.

The Grizzlies were coming off a tough 99-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night and had lost nine of their previous 12 games. Pulling out a win, even against the depleted Wizards, helped Memphis regain some confidence.

“It’s coming back,” Randolph said. “It’s not there yet. We’ve got to keep working, pushing it out. (Tuesday) was a big game, it hurt us. But we bounced back today and played hard against a scrappy young team.”

Andray Blatche(notes) led the Wizards with 24 points. Al Thornton(notes), making his first start for Washington, had 16 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. It was the Wizards’ first game without forward Josh Howard(notes), who was ruled out for the season because of an ACL tear just four games after joining the team in a trade.

Washington’s loss ended a three-game home winning streak in front of a Verizon Center crowd of 11,875—the lowest of the season.

“We gave them way too many easy points,” Thornton said. “We didn’t make it tough on them. They got baskets at will.”

The Grizzlies held a 69-68 lead when the fourth quarter started and quickly put the game out of reach. Memphis scored the first nine points of the fourth, including a 3-pointer from Mayo. Memphis took a 88-74 lead on Mayo’s jumper with 6 1/2 minutes left, which essentially put the game out of reach.

“We just picked our intensity up,” Gay said. “O.J. came and gave us a good lift, and he kind of pushed us to what we needed to do.”

Memphis’ points came exclusively inside earlier in the game. Gasol started the night by scoring 10 of the Grizzlies’ first 12 points, and all 10 of the Grizzlies’ first-quarter field goals came in the paint. The inside scoring led to a 13-2 run, giving Memphis a lead in the opening quarter.

The Wizards came back in the second with a 12-1 run, with all the scoring coming from Blatche and Nick Young(notes). Washington led 48-46 at the half, and Memphis coach Lionel Hollins let his players know they needed to pick up the energy.

“Coach let us know no one feels sorry for us, having a game last night and another tonight,” Mayo said.

The Grizzlies (29-28) avoided falling below the .500 mark and are hoping to get back into the playoff picture.

“It starts now,” Gay said. “We can’t sit around and wait. We have to load these wins up because we went through a tough patch.”

NOTES: The Wizards signed F Mike Harris(notes) to a 10-day contract Wednesday. He scored two points. … Thornton became the 14th player to start a game for the Wizards this season. … The Grizzlies are 3-11 in the second game of back-to-backs. … Memphis has won the last four against the Wizards, sweeping the series for the second straight season.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Memphis
Z. Randolph Zach Randolph
8-15,  22 Pts
9 Rebs, 4 Assists
 Washington
A. Blatche Andray Blatche
10-19,  24 Pts
8 Rebs, 5 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Feb 24