Gay and Mayo help Grizzlies beat Kings
November 23, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Memphis Grizzlies finally were able to finish off an opponent.
Rudy Gay scored 24 points, O.J. Mayo added 20 and the Memphis Grizzlies beat Sacramento 116-105 on Monday night, sending the Kings to their fourth straight loss.
“I think we’re all learning how to trust each other, talk and communicate,” Mayo said. “As long as we keep it up for the entire 48 minutes, we’ll be good. Sometimes we play 45; sometimes we play 40, and it’s not good enough.”
Marc Gasol finished with 18 points and four blocks for Memphis, which won for the fourth time in the last five games. Zach Randolph had 16 and Mike Conley added 11 points and seven assists.
“It all comes from defense,” Gasol said. “We’re playing better defensively.”
Rookie Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 28 points, connecting on 10-of-18 from the field, and Sergio Rodriguez had 16 points and seven assists. Omri Casspi, the rookie from Israel, scored 15 and Donte Greene had 11.
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Memphis led from start to finish, building the advantage to as many as 21.
Evans has scored 20-plus points in seven straight games in which he’s played. He missed the Kings loss at Houston on Saturday with an injured right middle finger.
Both teams shot well from the field as Memphis connected on 54 percent of its shots while Sacramento made 50 percent. But the Kings committed 21 turnovers, a problem that has plagued them in recent games.
“If we can’t throw the ball to our team, it’s going to be a long year,” Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said. “We started out the game turning the ball over and kept it up for most of the first three quarters. … We just couldn’t get anything going because our ballhandling was so atrocious.”
The Grizzlies led by 10 at the half and extended the advantage to 86-69 in the third period. The Kings were able to chip away and used an 11-4 run to make it 103-94, but Gay answered with a 3-pointer and Mayo added a jumper to put the game away.
The game included Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi, the first NBA player from Iran, and Casspi, the first Israeli player in the league. The two shook hands at midcourt before the game. Casspi wouldn’t be around at the end. He and Gay received a double technical when they got tangled up late in the first half.
Then he was called for a second technical when he got caught up with Memphis guard Jamaal Tinsley in the fourth, sending Casspi to the locker room.
“Hopefully, I can appeal to the league, I think,” Casspi said afterwards. “I didn’t do anything wrong, and that’s about it. It was the first time in my life to get ejected from a game. “I hope it’s not going to happen again.”
Notes: Evans drew a lot of pre-game attention from the media and early-arriving fans. Evans played his only season of college ball for the University of Memphis. The game featured the NBA’s least experienced teams. The Grizzlies” average is 3.13 years, the youngest in the league, while the Kings are second with an average experience of 3.43. … …Tinsley scored early in the second quarter, his first points since the middle of the 2007-08 season. Tinsley, signed by the Grizzlies Nov. 14, had not scored in his first two games with Memphis. He finished with 7 points. … Late in the first half, the Kings had their International team on the floor with all five players coming from different countries: Casspi from Israel, Andres Nocioni from Argentina, Beno Udrih from Slovenia, Sergio Rodriguez of Spain and Spencer Hawes from the United States.