MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Zach Randolph and the Memphis Grizzlies muscled their way to an important victory.
Randolph had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Marc Gasol added 21 points, and the Grizzlies pulled away in the second half for a 120-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.
“That’s the way we play night in and night out,” Randolph said. “That’s the game plan to go inside out. Once we get it going, other guys can get off their shots because (defenders) are going to have to come and double-team, and we’re passing the ball.”
Both Randolph and Gasol were 10 of 15 from the field as Memphis shot 55 percent while winning for the sixth time in seven games. Darrell Arthur had 17 points, O.J. Mayo scored 13 and Hamed Haddadi added a season-best 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, the last coming off the Kings’ final shot.
“My teammates told me I had to get the rebound. I knew it was close,” Haddadi said. “I have been in the NBA two years, and this is the first time to get a double-double.”
Haddadi was part of a strong inside game for Memphis, which enjoyed a 47-38 rebounding edge and a 78-46 advantage in points in the paint.
“That’s our team’s identity,” Randolph said.
Beno Udrih led the Kings with 24 points, connecting on 10 of 13 shots. But for much of the game, he was the only one providing substantial scoring for Sacramento. Marcus Thornton finished with 15, and DeMarcus Cousins added 14 points and seven rebounds before fouling out.
“I had a good game, but I was just trying to get everyone else going,” said Udrih, who also had five assists. “It doesn’t matter what was going on in the offense, we basically fell on defense. That’s why they beat us that bad.”
The Kings dropped to 2-10 in February.
Memphis’ win and Utah’s 120-116 loss at Detroit left the Grizzlies a game ahead of the Jazz for the final playoff spot in the West. Memphis outscored the Kings 64-43 in the second half, with the lead increasing to 33 in the fourth quarter.
“After the first quarter, we couldn’t get anything going for us, it seemed like,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said. “We couldn’t guard them at all, and offensively, we were turning the ball over, not executing well.
“We looked like a tired, depleted team, which we are.”
The Kings played their sixth straight game without leading scorer Tyreke Evans, but Udrih and Jermaine Taylor helped Sacramento to an early eight-point lead. Udrih had 14 points in the first quarter.
Memphis responded in the second quarter, closing the first half with an 8-1 run to carry a 56-49 lead into the break. Randolph had 15 points at intermission.
“They went to Randolph and Gasol,” Westphal said. “We couldn’t deal with that. … They started hurting us in their pick-and-rolls as well. They laid the wood on us.”
Memphis outscored the Kings 33-17 in the third, connecting on 15 of 26 shots, and the Grizzlies reached a season-high point total with their starters resting in the final period.
“We were giving too many easy baskets inside,” Kings center Samuel Dalembert said. “We just got killed.”
Shane Battier blocked three shots in the first game of his second stint with Memphis, which reacquired the forward in a trade with the Houston Rockets on Thursday. He also had two points, two rebounds and three assists.
Haddadi, who had been buried on the bench behind Gasol and Hasheem Thabeet, also recorded a career-high 21 minutes after Thabeet went to Houston in the Battier deal.
“He’s going to get minutes,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “He has got to play.”
NOTES: Battier, arguably the most popular player to ever play for Memphis, was back in the No. 31 jersey he wore during his first tenure with the team. He jokingly wondered this week whether they had retired the number for Darko Milicic, who wore 31 when he played for Memphis after Battier was traded to Houston. … Rookie G Ish Smith, also obtained in the Battier trade, was inactive for the Grizzlies. .. Sacramento F Jason Thompson departed with 2:24 left in the third period with a sprained right ankle and did not return. … The Kings are 2-9 with Evans out of the lineup this season. … The Grizzlies are 10-0 at home against opponents playing the second game of a back-to-back. Sacramento lost Friday night at Charlotte 110-98.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)