Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 4/10/12
It wasn't so long ago that Grizzlies' forward Rudy Gay remembers the team having a less-than-stellar bench. "We basically sign guys to 10-day contracts," said Gay, who's in his sixth season with the Griz. "We'd sign guys to play out the season." What Gay is seeing now should be tears of relief to his eyes. For the first time since he's been with team, the Grizzlies have an honest-to-goodness deep and talented bench full of scorers. At one point in the second half in Monday's 94-85 win over the Clippers at FedEx Forum, the Grizzlies had three all-stars on the floor playing what was a second unit rotation. The all-stars were Griz reserves Zach Randolph and Gilbert Arenas, and starting center Marc Gasol. True, Griz coach Lionel Hollins doesn't know how long he'll keep having Randolph come off the bench. But Arenas is the backup combo guard that the Grizzlies have searched for the last three years and he just fell in their lap as a free agent that no one else really wanted. Against the Clips, the Grizzlies' bench held a 31-15 scoring advantage and didn't really have a great night. For the first time in his 3 12-year head coaching career with the Grizzlies, Hollins has options off his bench. "Everybody that has played, has played well," Hollins said. Last year, the Grizzlies' bench scoring fell all on guard O.J. Mayo. This season started the same way, but new acquisitions along the way have Mayo feeling like the calvalry has finally arrived. "Having Gilbert out there has relieved a lot of pressure," Mayo said. "But look at the other guys we've gotten. (Quincy) Pondexter and (Dante) Cunningham have come inn given us great defense and rebounding. I had an aggressive offensive mindset to start the season and I've stayed that way. But we have a lot more scoring options." NOTES, QUOTES -The Grizzlies (33-23) are in fifth place behind the fourth place Clippers (34-23), but cut a full game off the Clips' lead. Memphis is now just a half-game behind the Clippers for the fourth playoff spot, which gives a team home-court advantage in the playoffs. It was Memphis' first win this season over the Clippers, after losing the previous two meetings in Los Angeles. The Clippers and the Grizzlies could very well meet in the first round of the playoffs. "This was a statement game," Griz forward Rudy Gay said. "We knew could beat them. We knew that the first two games, but just didn't play well." -Memphis has won eight out of its last 10 games, with four wins over teams that would be in the Western Conference playoffs if it opened today -- the Lakers, the Thunder, the Mavericks and the Clippers. -In the last three games (and wins) for the Griz over the Heat, the Mavs and the Clippers, Memphis has trailed just 19 seconds. ROSTER REPORT -G O.J. Mayo scored 13 points to lead the Grizzlies off the bench. He said he loves teaming with Gilbert Arenas in the backcourt on the second unit. "We were joking today that his nickname is 'Hibachi,' so I'm going to Benehana," Mayo said. "I don't know what we're going to call Zach (Randolph)." -PG Mike Conley is digging on the Grizzlies' unselfishness. Night in and night out, the shot attempt distribution is basically balanced throughout the team. "This team truly plays unselfish, no one cares who gets the credit, no one cares who scores," said Conley, who had 13 points and 3 steals. "Everybody understands we can't win with just a couple of guys scoring big. Everybody has to do it." -F Rudy Gay had 16 points, but he was especially proud of the Griz team defense played on the Clippers' Blake Griffin, who had 19 points and just one dunk. In fact, the Clippers had no dunks off lobs, usually their favorite play. "It was like our crowd out there waiting for a lob (to Griffin) for a dunk, but we weren't going to let that happen," Gay said. "That's how they (the Clippers) score, that's their makeup and we punched them first." QUOTE TO NOTE "This was like a playoff game with a playoff atmosphere. This was about getting respect." -- Griz guard Mike Conley on proving to the Clippers that the Grizzlies are good enough to beat them.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jags coach says Blake Bortles’ starting job is in jeopardy

Report: New Marlins owners will seriously consider trading Stanton

Report: Raiders CB Sean Smith charged with felony assault

Red Sox owner wants to rename Yawkey Way

NFLPA leader: Lockout or strike in 2021 a ‘virtual certainty’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ex-Cav: LeBron James-Kyrie Irving relationship can be fixed

Le’Veon Bell reportedly will return before regular season

Report: Aaron Donald has not ruled out skipping all of 2017

Multiple brawls erupt during 49ers, Broncos joint practice

Goodell: Josh Gordon reinstatement not under consideration

Report: Ric Flair’s drinking problem contributed to health issues

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

Box Score 8/17: Interleague games bring the fireworks

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

The top 20 left-handed pitchers of all-time

Box Score 8/16: There is no stopping the Dodgers

The '27 up, 27 down' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Charles Oakley slams the phone — and his opponents — down

The Cardinals have their season back by the unlikeliest of means

The BIG3 in L.A.: The reverse Danny Almonte comes to Staples Center

Box Score 8/15: Stanton's power surge has no end in sight

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Charles Oakley slams the phone — and his opponents — down

The '27 up, 27 down' quiz

The Cardinals have their season back by the unlikeliest of means

The 'For Sale this fall: All of the awards' quiz

The BIG3 in L.A.: The reverse Danny Almonte comes to Staples Center

Getaway Day: It's an all-inclusive Wild Card party

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker