Grizzlies edge Warriors to finish 4-0 California trip

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- California is a great place to visit in November. Just ask the Memphis Grizzlies.
Point guard Mike Conley sank a 3-pointer to break a tie with 1:36 remaining in overtime as the Grizzlies, playing for the fourth time in six days, outlasted the Golden State Warriors 88-81 Wednesday night to complete a rare 4-0 California swing.
In recording their franchise-record-tying 11th consecutive win over the Warriors, the Grizzlies (7-5) successfully capped a perfect trip that began with successive wins over California's other three NBA teams -- the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers.
"It's huge for us to win these games against such great teams," Conley said. "I'm proud of the way we came out here and we were professional about it."
The Grizzlies overcame a 12-point, first-half deficit with a strong third quarter, setting the stage for a late defensive struggle in which neither team scored in the final 2:02 of regulation.
"We hang our hat on defense," said Conley, whose defense on Warriors counterpart Andre Iguodala (3-for-14, seven points) was a key component in the win. "This whole trip, we've been getting stops and holding teams to low numbers."
After Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson was called for an offensive foul on Golden State's first possession after Conley's tiebreaking hoop, small forward Tayshaun Prince buried two jumpers in a 25-second span as the Grizzlies pulled away to hand the Warriors (8-4) their first home defeat in six games.
"It makes no sense, going back, how many times they have beaten us," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of his club's 0-11 run again the Grizzlies, which includes a 108-90 game in Memphis earlier this month. "We battled, defended, executed and fell short. This is a very good (Memphis) basketball team that is very smart also, so give them credit."
Both teams played without starting guards. The Warriors were missing point guard Stephen Curry, who suffered a concussion Monday night in Utah. The Grizzlies had to go without shooting guard Tony Allen, suspended by the NBA for one game as a result of a Flagrant-2 foul and ejection Monday against the Clippers.
Jackson moved the 6-foot-6 Iguodala into Curry's point guard spot, and Golden State continually tried to take advantage of the matchup with Conley, who stands just 6-1. In the end, the little guy won the war.
"I didn't enjoy getting beaten down by 6-6 guys, but I do enjoy the challenge," Conley said. "Just not for 48 (actually, 53) minutes."
Big men Zach Randolph (21 points, 12 rebounds) and Marc Gasol (18 points, 11 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles for the Grizzlies. Conley had five of his 19 points in the five-minute overtime session.
Thompson led the Warriors with 21 points. Power forward David Lee added 18, and small forward Harrison Barnes had 16. Center Andrew Bogut contributed a 12-point, 14-rebound double-double.
With both teams down a starter, the benches played a reduced role. Golden State's four backups accounted for just seven points, nine fewer than Memphis' four-man reserve crew.
All five Warriors starters played at least 42 minutes.
Neither team scored in the final 2:02 of regulation.
The Grizzlies had two chances to break a 75-75 tie on their final possession of regulation, but Gasol misfired from the left block and Randolph failed to convert a tip with 9.6 seconds left.
The Warriors opted to push the ball up the floor without a timeout, and Iguodala, greeted by Conley near the top of the key and bothered by the 7-1 Gasol just as he was shooting, couldn't connect on a tough 18-footer just before the horn.
"(Iguodala) did a good job of getting to his spot, so he had options," Jackson said of the strategy to go without a timeout. "I'm fine with the action that took place."
Iguodala had 14 assists, but he committed four of Golden State's 15 turnovers. He played 48 of the 53 minutes.
"I felt like I had an advantage," Iguodala said of his rush up the court. "Gasol did a good job of helping."
NOTES: The four-game road sweep of California teams was just the third in NBA history. The San Antonio Spurs were the last to accomplish it in 1995. ... The overtime win was Memphis' second of the season. ... Warriors PG Stephen Curry (concussion) was cleared to travel with the club to Los Angeles after Wednesday's game, but a decision on whether he will face the Lakers isn't expected until game day on Friday. ... The Warriors are now 16-40 with Curry out of the lineup since he was drafted in 2009. ... SG Tony Allen (one-game suspension) will be eligible to rejoin the Memphis starting lineup Friday at home against the Spurs. The game tips off a stretch in which the Grizzlies play eight of nine at home, including a Dec. 7 visit by Golden State that will be the teams' third matchup of the young season. ... For the first time this season, the Warriors were at home against a team that did not played the night before. Golden State took full advantage of the weary opposition in its first five home games, going 5-0 with a 15-point average margin of victory.

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