for this game

Davis at his best as Warriors hold off Grizzlies

Jan 12, 2008 - 7:45 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Just two days removed from an embarrassing loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Golden State Warriors took out their frustrations and re-discovered their shooting strokes on Friday.

Baron Davis finished with 20 points and a career-high 19 assists and Stephen Jackson added 22 points for the Warriors en route to a 116-104 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

"Coach challenged me to move that ball, and I'm trying to make a conscious effort of being more on the ball and let Monta (Ellis) play off the ball especially early in the game to get him going," Davis said. "I'm just want to be more of a passer, especially on this team and guys need me to play more off the ball to get them going offensively. This team needs to establish a rhythm and a style early on."

Ellis scored 21 of his 27 points in the first half as Golden State surged out to a big lead.

He finished 12-of-15 from the field and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line, making his first 11 shots without missing until just 9:08 remained in the fourth quarter.

"I'm doing what coach wanted me to do, and tonight it was going for me," Ellis said. "Instead of going to the basket all the time, all the way, get that floater going. I got that going and it allows me to go all the way to the basket because (the defense) is tentative about the floater. I've just got to continue to do that, and feed off this game and move forward."

The Warriors' loss on Wednesday marked their third-lowest point total of the season, and Davis and Jackson combined for just nine points on 3-of-15 shooting in the setback.

"We knew what we had to do, everybody said it before we came out," Ellis said. "We had to start the game off good. Coach mentioned that after we lost to Portland. We all just got together and said we're going to play Warrior ball to start and that's what we did. We had a lot of fun and we've got back to having fun, and that's how we got our lead, playing our game and having fun doing it."

Pau Gasol single-handedly kept the Grizzlies in the game, scoring a season-high 43 points - just shy of his career best of 44.

"I was trying to be aggressive," Gasol said. "It's one of those nights that I was feeling pretty good. Shots were going in and I felt I could have scored many more tonight to help my team a little more but, unfortunately, I couldn't get going as much as I wanted to. I tried my best, I think we all tried our best. We made our mistakes and hopefully next game we'll do a better job."

Although the Grizzlies got to within nine points on Gasol's free throw with 3:31 remaining, a 3-pointer by Kelenna Azubuike with 2:36 to go provided the dagger, giving the Warriors a 12-point lead.

Azubuike followed up a minute later on a missed give-and-go layup from Jackson to Ellis with a two-handed slam. With that basket, the fans confidently headed towards the exits.

Memphis trailed by as many as 23 points in the third quarter, but after a 3-pointer by Kyle Lowry, Memphis trailed 105-97 with 5:41 to play. Gasol made a turnaround hook shot to make it a six-point game.

But Davis, as he as done so often this season, took over in the fourth quarter to prevent the Grizzlies from taking the game away. Davis scored four points and dished out four assists in the period.

"We have to single Baron out, 19 assists and one turnover, I loved the way all the guys played on the offensive end sharing the ball, moving the ball, penetrating and they did an awful lot of good things on that end," Golden State coach Don Nelson said.

"Defensively, it was a little more difficult than I had hoped. Facing a team where somebody gets 40 and still wins handily, I'm not going to complain too much about anything. Just bank this one, that's our 21st win of the year and move on and look forward to the next game."

The Warriors maintained a double-digit lead in the second half and kept pulling away with good 3-point shooting, making 44 percent (14-of-32) from the arc.

Memphis has lost eight of its last 10 games and sits firmly in last place in the Southwest Division.

"We didn't come out with the energy. They came out to stunt us and try to put us away," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "We came out with a couple of guys a little bit lethargic, frankly. You can't compete with this team in this building unless you have all five really energized and really getting up and down and really feeling good about getting a lot of easy shots.

"I'm happy we didn't just wilt but we make it tough on ourselves and there's no question we can beat them, but they've done a better job than us with the final roll."

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