Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins knew when his team embarked on a brutal stretch in the Grizzlies' schedule that he needed all hands on deck, meaning Memphis' bench had to step up big.
Starting last Friday at Milwaukee, on to Oklahoma City on Sunday night and at home against Golden State in a 98-94 win at FedExForum to extend a three-game Grizzlies winning streak, the Memphis bench has averaged 46 points per game with almost half those points belonging to guard O.J. Mayo.
Mayo has been on a roll during the current win streak, averaging 21.3 points, while shooting 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from three-point land and 94.7 percent (18-of-19) from the free throw line.
He nailed a dagger three-pointer at Oklahoma City and seems to have gotten better as free agent guard Gilbert Arenas has gotten in shape and been able to be on the floor more with Mayo.
"We know we know we have this tough stretch of three games in three days and seven games in nine days," Mayo said. "We know it's going to be tough physically and mentally. These two wins the last two nights are big steps forward.
"When I get rolling, it's about staying aggressive, whether I'm taking the shot that's there or getting someone else a shot. But this all about being a team, that everyone has worked hard to be ready."
Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said Mayo's overall improvement, especially on defense, has been a key.
"We wouldn't be (anywhere near) where are (in the standings) if O.J. hadn't played the way he's played this year," Conley said.