Gasol Beats Buzzer, Grizzlies Top Warriors
Memphis 81, Golden State 79
OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 13 (Ticker) -- Pau Gasol put the final exclamation point on a game full of question marks.
Gasol made a spinning floater in the lane as the final buzzer sounded to lift the Memphis Grizzlies to a thrilling 81-79 triumph over the stunned Golden State Warriors.
With the game tied at 77-77 with under 10 seconds remaining, Grizzlies guard Bobby Jackson misfired on a 3-pointer. Eddie Jones grabbed the offensive rebound and passed to Chucky Atkins, who was inexplicably fouled intentionally by a confused Mickael Pietrus.
"I made a bad choice and I admit that," said Pietrus, who shot just 3-of-12 from the field and committed five turnovers. "I'll move on and come out Wednesday ready to play."
Atkins sank both free throws with 7.5 seconds to go, but Golden State's Derek Fisher answered with a driving reverse layup to tie it with 3.9 seconds left as the Grizzlies curiously chose not to use their foul to give.
Following a timeout, Gasol took the inbounds pass from Jones above the 3-point arc and took two dribbles to his right before spinning into the lane and nailing the floater over a pair of defenders.
"That was a play we wanted to run," Gasol said. "I took it hard to the rim and I knew I had enough time to make a move, change directions if I had to, and made a tough shot and we got a great win here.
"I definitely believed that we could get that stop down the stretch," Fisher said. "It wasn't that they didn't have enough time to get the shot off, but I felt like we kept fighting and we were going to be able to get that last stop and take it to overtime and pull it out."
The basket capped a second straight impressive effort by Gasol since being named to his first All-Star team on Thursday. The Spanish forward scored 23 points and pulled down 13 rebounds while adding six assists and a pair of blocks.
"We played good defense," said Warriors guard Jason Richardson, who scored just 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting. "(Gasol's) an All-Star and All-Stars make big plays. That's what he did, he made a big play."
The contest also was the second straight for the Grizzlies in which the team finished strong instead of its typical routine of fading late.
"It was just like that other night against the Lakers down the stretch," Jones said. "We're down by four or five points, guys make shots and we get right back in the game and win it."
Jackson, Jones and Atkins scored 10 points apiece for Memphis, which has won two straight games for the first time since January 10-13 and back-to-back road contests for the first time since December 30-31.
"It's a must for us right now," said Jones, whose team had dropped five straight prior to the last two victories. "We've got to start feeling good again. We had a period where we struggled and its all about feeling good going into the second half of the season."
Jones drilled a 3-pointer to give Memphis a 74-73 lead with two minutes remaining. It was the first basket in nearly seven minutes for the Grizzlies, who shot only 37 percent (33-of-78) from the field.
Fisher responded on the other end with a deep jumper to beat the shot clock, marking Golden State's first bucket in more than six minutes. Jackson regained the lead for the Grizzlies with another shot from the arc, but Fisher answered again with a difficult fadeaway jumper to forge a 77-77 tie.
"It was tough for us tonight and we're really going to try to step up on Wednesday and try to get a W before the break," Pietrus said. "It's very important to get a win on Wednesday."
Fisher scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half for the Warriors, who played without injured starters Baron Davis and Troy Murphy and lost for the third time in four games.
"I don't know and I guess I've been around too long to say we deserved it when we didn't win," Fisher said. "The team that wins oftentimes deserves to win, so you can't take credit away from them for continuing to make plays down the stretch. I'm very proud of the effort of our basketball team that we put out there tonight. It's frustrating because we've been in this position so many times this season."
Mike Dunleavy scored 15 points off the bench and Adonal Foyle added 10 rebounds and five blocks for Golden State, which has dropped 10 of its last 13 meetings with Memphis.
"You feel bad about the loss but you can't always come out on top," Dunleavy said. "I wouldn't say we feel snake-bitten but it's frustrating. We really haven't been able to afford any losses all season long. When it gets down to it and we look back, how many of these games are we going to say we blew?"