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If you needed a video to sum up the humiliating feeling of losing to a Grizzlies team without Rudy Gay, I think Jamaal Tinsley's dribble between the legs of Andray Blatche sums it up pretty well.
The Wizards surrendered 116 points to a Grizzlies team that is playing much better this month but was also missing its leading scorer in Rudy Gay. Randolph certainly delivered with 23 points and 19 rebounds, but the Grizzlies were able to make critical plays down the stretch with second-year guard O.J. Mayo, third-year point guard Mike Conley and second-year center Marc Gasol. It's not about age. It's about execution. "We couldn't make a big stop," Coach Flip Saunders said. "We couldn't get a key rebound and it cost us. That was difficult. Situations being like we're at, you got to be able to make a stop. We're trying to stress to our guys to play smart on defense, get defensive stops in the fourth. There is no question we got tired and couldn't come up with some plays and they pounded us on the boards with their two big people."
Over the final six-plus minutes of the fourth quarter the Wizards put together an 18-8 run that was fueled by intensity on defense. During this stretch, the Wizards made three steals and two blocked shots. Brendan Haywood who had one of those rejections led the Wizards with five blocked shots. "We were aggressive," Saunders added. We played better and we are stressing to our guys to be aggressive but to play smart. We made some big plays in the fourth but they pounded us on the offensive boards at times with their two big people."
After rallying from a 94-84 fourth-quarter deficit, the Wizards (10-19) held a 102-100 lead but put Memphis' Zach Randolph at the line with 0.3 seconds left. Randolph swished home both shots forcing overtime, and his Grizzlies carried that momentum into overtime where they outscored the Wizards 14-9 and earned the victory. Thirty points from Gilbert Arenas and 24 apiece from Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler weren't enough to save the Wizards, who got hammered on the boards 54-41 and allowed four Memphis players to top the 20-point mark.
The Wizards, who were outscored 14-9 in overtime, had a chance to tie the score with less than 10 seconds left. With Memphis up 113-111, Arenas poked the ball from Marc Gasol's grasp during a scrum, and Randy Foye scooped it up and raced up court. But just as he reached halfcourt, a whistle was blown, and the officials said Jamison had fouled Gasol to cause the loose ball. Gasol made both shots to extend his team's lead to 115-111, and O.J. Mayo added another foul shot with 2.5 seconds left to clinch the victory. "We just can't get over the hump," Arenas said. "We gave better effort today, but they got the calls they needed down the line and in overtime, and we just couldn't get a break."
The basketball gods were unhappy with the Wizards for allowing the Grizzlies to hammer them 54-41. The basketball gods weren't pleased with 19 assists and 16 turnovers, which went for 22 Memphis points. And they likely weren't pleased with only 10 points out of the Wizards' bench.
While Gilbert Arenas lead all scorers with 30 points he once again failed to finish the job. Arenas started out on fire, starting out 4-6 from three with 16 points in the first half. He played a terrific game scoring the ball but only dished five assists compared to four turnovers. Arenas is ranked 37th in the NBA for point guards with a 1.81 assist-to-turnover ratio. He turned the ball over at inopportune times and missed a free throw at the end that was pivotal in the Wizards fifth straight loss at Memphis.
Overheard: When Antawn Jamison re-entered the game in the fourth quarter, a Wizards assistant shouted: "Put him on Thabeet! Put him on Thabeet!"
Overheard, Part II: "Don't shoot me, Gil" — Thoroughly expected fan heckle as Arenas argues with a referee during a stoppage in play.
ZACH RANDOLPH! 23 and 19. Just absurd, especially considering that the Wizards played a weird matchup-zone-ish-type defense just to keep ZBo from going bananas. Not his best night percentage-wise, but he showed some TREMENDOUS poise by making the two FT's to send the game to OT (a near total-heartbreaker by Agent Zilch notwithstanding) and had his hardhat on big-time in the paint, taking contact on every play and playing the OT with five fouls and still involving himself enough without fear of that sixth foul to score six huge points in the OT.
Best of Twitterville
Twitter / Mike Prada
Phil Chenier is diplomatically saying "You know, Brendan, that's a crap shot. Don't take it, like ever." Gotta love Phil.
Twitter / Hardwood Paroxysm
Caron Butler just pulled a Rondo. "OH, MAN, I'M SO INJURED. IT HURTS, SO BADLY. WHAT WILL I DO?" Oh, I have free throws? I'm cool.
Twitter / Michael Lee
The officials are putting 0.3 seconds on the clock. Oh, Brendan Haywood. He sure has a knack for fouls with less than a second remaining.
Twitter / Chris C-Ford
Lets see if the wiz run their classic Javale Mcgee at the 3 point line buzzer beater play
Twitter / Wizards Extreme
holy crap the Wizards suck. Unreal how undisciplined the Wiz are. Losing to the Grizlies? Seriously? Wonder what excuse will be used now
Twitter / Mike Jones
This time last year Washington was 5-23 without Arenas and Haywood. They have those 2 plus Jamison and Butler and have only four more wins.
Twitter / Andrew Sharp
Firing up NBA Live '10 for first time... First order of business? Trade Gil and Caron for Rudy and O.J. /sniffles, cries
Twitter / wizznutzz
Oh wiz played? busy watchin Timbaland make Snoop Dogg look like a piker in high-in-public dept. Gwan strait from ring to Tacobell