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Warrick, Grizzlies top Pacers, snap four-game skid

Dec 27, 2008 - 4:47 AM By Jason Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Rookie guard O.J. Mayo sank a pair of free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining Friday to help lift the Memphis Grizzlies to a 108-105 victory over the Indiana Pacers at FedEx Forum.

Mayo, one of seven Grizzlies to finish in double figures, finished with 18 points, helping Memphis erase what had been a 17-point first-half deficit and record their largest comeback victory at home this season.

Reserve forward Hakim Warrick led Memphis with 21 points, and his one-handed jam over Indiana reserve center Rasho Nesterovic with 3:07 left to play in the fourth quarter put Memphis ahead for good.

"All I can say is (allowing) 68 points in the first half and 37 points in the second half is priceless," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "Our team needs to play like that both halves. We are capable of playing like that. You can see it and the building feels it when we really get into people.

"We caught them, and perhaps they were a little overconfident based on our defense in the first half, but we didn't change anything schematically and really just grinded this thing out. I would like to give credit to our team for not giving up."

Indiana forward Danny Granger, who entered Friday's contest averaging 24.4 points per game to rank fifth in the NBA in scoring, left the game with 10:08 left in the fourth quarter and Indiana trailing, 88-87.

Granger did not return after falling hard to the floor on a fast-break opportunity for Memphis, leaving the game with a sore neck.

"I collided with my teammate, Jarrett Jack, and snapped my head back," said Granger, who left the game with 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting. "I took a good hit from his shoulder and got a concussion, basically.

"I'll take some CT scans and stuff and take a few tests and I think I should be all right."

Marquis Daniels scored 12 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to keep Indiana within striking distance before Warrick and Marc Gasol gave Memphis a 106-101 advantage with back-to-back buckets on consecutive trips down the floor.

"We were minus-6 in turnovers and minus-22 in free-throw attempts. We had 11 turnovers in the second half, and that's just not going to win many games on the road," Indiana coach Jim O'Brien said.

Indiana rookie center Roy Hibbert connected on 7-of-7 shot attempts over the game's first three quarters but was forced to the bench early in the second half after picking up his fifth foul with 9:17 left in the third.

Without him, Indiana was outscored, 12-5, over the next 4:23 of the quarter. Kyle Lowry's pair of free throws with 4:54 left in the third gave Memphis its first lead since early in the first quarter at 77-76.

But Granger and reserve guard Travis Diener answered with back-to-back layups to help Indiana take an 87-86 lead into the fourth quarter.

"A lot of times, we jump out on teams, but as we develop and as we learn, we've got to finish out our games," Hibbert said. "In the NBA, you could be up 20 points and, all of a sudden within a four- or five-minute stretch, they can cut it down to four points.

"We've got to finish out games, but I think we are in the process of learning that."

Memphis lost center Darko Milicic (14 points) with 8:43 left in the third quarter to a broken knuckle on his right hand. Gasol finished with 14 points and five rebounds in relief of Milicic.

"We lost Darko and we may lose him for a while," Iavaroni said. "It's too early to tell. We'll have to make some changes. Right now, I'm not sure what. Everybody will have to step up."

Granger and Hibbert combined to score Indiana's first 12 points as the Pacers raced out to an early 12-4 first-quarter advantage.

Indiana's lead swelled to 28-13 with 3:59 left in the first when Daniels sank a pair of free throws to cap a 9-0 scoring run. The Pacers finished 60 percent (15-of-25) from the field in the opening period and led, 36-23, after one.

The Pacers only got hotter from the floor in the second quarter, connecting on their first four shot attempts and 10-of-12 to start the period to build a 60-44 lead.

"We started out downhill when we got our lead in the first quarter, and we did not start out at a high level in the second quarter," O'Brien said. "They scored 36 points in the second quarter to go from a double-digit lead to a single-digit lead."

Memphis - paced by Mayo's 14 first-half points - outscored Indiana, 15-8, over the final 4:27 of the first half to cut the Pacers' advantage to 68-59 by halftime. The Grizzlies finished the first half shooting 56 percent (24-of-43) but yielded a season-high 68 first-half points on 61 percent shooting (27-of-44) by the Pacers.

"In the halftime talk, we really stressed defensive rebounding because they were killing us on the offensive boards," said Memphis point guard Mike Conley, who added 12 points, four assists and three steals off the bench.

"We knew they weren't going to make all those shots they were making in the first half. We had to make sure we played better defense, and I think we did a good job."