'Worst effort' for Wizards

The Baltimore Sun

Memphis Grizzlies rookie O.J. Mayo had done more scoring than losing at every level of play until he reached the NBA.

Last night, he used his ability to score to help the Grizzlies end a 12-game losing streak, matching his career high with 33 points in a 113-97 win over the host Washington Wizards.

"We got the monkey off our back, definitely," Mayo said. "Twelve-game losing streak, I've never experienced anything like that before in my life."

Rudy Gay (Archbishop Spalding) scored 23, and Marc Gasol added 22 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis (12-35), which ended the team's longest drought since dropping 13 in a row to start the 2002-03 season. The Grizzlies had not won since beating the Dallas Mavericks, 102-82, on Jan. 4.

Antawn Jamison had 29 points and 13 rebounds, and Caron Butler scored 21 for Washington (10-38), which failed to record its second two-game winning streak of the season.

"That was the worst effort I've seen us give since I've been here," said Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott, who took over after Eddie Jordan was fired Nov. 24. "There wasn't any hustle. There wasn't any life. That was just a very, very poor effort."

The Grizzlies broke the streak in high-flying fashion - the 113 points marked Memphis' highest-scoring game of the season.

Memphis' losing streak lasted long enough for the team to have three coaches over the span. This was Lionel Hollins' fourth game after taking over for Johnny Davis, who was at the helm for two games after Marc Iavaroni was fired Jan. 22.

The Grizzlies led for much of the game but did not pull away until a 19-2 run to finish the third quarter, with Gay scoring nine straight points as Memphis ended the quarter with a 94-81 lead.

Lakers 126, Knicks 117: : Kobe Bryant broke the record at the current Madison Square Garden with 61 points, and visiting Los Angeles (38-9) looked plenty potent without Andrew Bynum in a win over New York (21-26).

Bryant teased and pleased a sellout crowd that took turns booing him and saluting him during an electrifying performance with chants of "MVP! MVP!" He passed Michael Jordan's opponent record of 55 points at the present building, known as "Garden IV," when he hit three free throws with 3:56 remaining, then bettered Bernard King's mark of 60, set on Christmas Day 1984, with two more foul shots with 2:33 to play.

Bryant, who finished with the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season, left to a loud ovation after the 24th 50-point game of his career. He went 19-for-31 from the field and hit all 20 free throws.

Pau Gasol added 31 points and 14 rebounds in the Lakers' first game since losing Bynum, their starting center, for eight to 12 weeks with a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Bynum was hurt Saturday at Memphis. The center isn't expected to need surgery and said he was confident he would return in time for the playoffs.

Trail Blazers 97, Hornets 89: : Visiting Portland (30-17) overcame a 17-point deficit after Chris Paul was injured to beat New Orleans (28-17) for its fifth straight victory.

Paul (12 points, 13 assists) left the game late in the third quarter with a strained right groin with the Hornets ahead 72-55.

Portland then outscored New Orleans 26-7 during the next seven minutes.

Mavericks 105, Magic 95: : Dirk Nowitzki had 29 points and six rebounds, and visiting Dallas (28-19) held Orlando (36-11) to 3-for-20 shooting from three-point range for its third straight win.

Dwight Howard had 35 points and 11 rebounds, but the Magic lost All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson in the third quarter with a dislocated right shoulder.

Heat 119, Clippers 95: : Dwyane Wade had 32 points and nine assists, Michael Beasley added 18 points, and host Miami (26-21) broke a two-game losing streak by beating Los Angeles (10-38).

Suns 129, Kings 81: : Jason Richardson scored 16 of his 24 points in the first quarter, Amare Stoudemire had 25 points, and Phoenix (26-21) ended a three-game home skid with its most lopsided win of the season, over Sacramento (11-39).

Jazz 105, Bobcats 86: : Ronnie Brewer scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half, and Utah (27-22) rallied from a sluggish start to beat visiting Charlotte (19-29).

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