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Grizzlies top Warriors for 3rd straight win

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POSTED April 3, 2012 11:43 p.m.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — For three quarters, the Memphis Grizzlies did not resemble a team coming off a win at Oklahoma City.

Only a fourth-quarter rally kept Memphis from taking a step back and the Grizzlies defeated the Golden State Warriors 98-94 on Tuesday night.

Memphis overcame a 12-point Golden State lead early in the fourth to keep from following up Monday night's victory at Oklahoma City with a loss to a sub-.500 team.

"That would have been devastating," said point guard Mike Conley, who finished with 18 points for Memphis.

"I think everybody understood that. We started to try to find it within ourselves when we were down eight or nine at the end, saying: 'We can't lose this game. That game we played (Monday) night is nothing if we don't win this game.' Guys understood that and went out there and found a way to win."

O.J. Mayo had 19 points to lead Memphis scorers, Dante Cunningham scored 13 points, hitting all six of his shots for Memphis, which played with little drive for most of the game but rallied to win its third straight.

Marc Gasol added 12, Rudy Gay finished with 11 points, despite going 3 of 13 from the field, and Gilbert Arenas scored 10 points, hitting all four of his shots.

David Lee scored 22 points and had 13 rebounds to lead the Warriors, who lost their sixth straight. Nate Robinson scored 18, and Brandon Rush added 13 on 4 of 7 from the field.

The Grizzlies won the game by outscoring Golden State 28-15 in the final period, shooting 70.5 percent.

"We turned the ball over and gave them eight points off our five turnovers," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of blowing the lead. "We also gave them seven points off of second-shot chances. That's 15 points off our lack of discipline.

"They increased the volume, and we ran for the hills."

The fourth-quarter rally was keyed by Cunningham, who had nine in the period, while Mayo and Gasol scored six apiece.

"At some point in the game, they turned up their defensive pressure, and we didn't react to it," Lee said. "We had some turnovers. Give them credit. They hit shots down the stretch."

For the first three quarters, the Warriors appeared to be the ones in line for the playoffs, instead of hoping for good draft position.

The game started pretty ugly. The Warriors missed nine of their first 10 shots, and both teams ended the first quarter hitting 9 of 24 from the field.

The offense picked up in the second as Lee was effective for the Warriors, while Memphis was relying on balanced scoring.

Golden State, which started three rookies — Klay Thompson, Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins — went to their veterans to take a second-quarter lead.

Lee's basket with 2.4 seconds left in the half gave him 14 points and tied the game at 50 at the break.

Conley, who hit 5 of 7 shots including 2 of 3 outside the arc, had 12 for Memphis.

"Offensively, we could get whatever we wanted to," Gasol said, "but defensively, that was a problem. (The Warriors) don't really have anything to play for, so they were just throwing up shots and making bad shots because they have no conscience right now."

The Warriors extended the lead to nine in the middle stages of the third as the Grizzlies continued to look lethargic. Mayo hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Memphis close, but Robinson answered with consecutive long-range jumpers to provide the Warriors a buffer.

That helped Golden State carry a 79-70 lead into the final quarter, and a 3-pointer by Rush on the Warriors' initial possession of the fourth gave them the first double-digit lead of the game.

"Nate Robinson really got it going on the pick-and-rolls and was pulling up hitting fadeaways and getting to the basket," Mayo said. "We pretty much felt like we needed to get the ball out of his hands. ... Just enforce our will on the game."

The lead reached 86-74 on another Robinson basket with just over 10 minutes to play before the Grizzlies began their comeback.

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins, who had been shuffling players all night looking for the right combination, finally pushed the right buttons having Gasol, Cunningham, Mayo, Arenas and Tony Allen on the floor together.

"We were really struggling the first three quarters, especially in the third quarter," Hollins said. "I thought our defense was good in the first quarter, we just couldn't score. In the second quarter, we actually scored, but didn't do much defensively.

"In the fourth, we finally found a group."

Notes: Memphis was back at full strength after starting guard Conley and reserve forward Cunningham sat out Monday's win at Oklahoma City with ankle problems. ... The Grizzlies were playing the middle game of their only back-to-back-to-back series of the season. ... Meanwhile, Golden State was playing its second game in a stretch of six of seven games on the road. ... Warriors F/C Andris Biedrins returned to action after missing the previous five games with a right groin strain. ... Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, in town for Wednesday's events on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, was seated with Memphis owner Michael Heisley at center court.

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