Memphis Grizzlies players came up with some huge plays in winning efforts this past week. Tony Allen and Dante Cunningham were unlikely heroes in the last two games. Both made up for Rudy Gay's misses in the closing seconds of wins.
Rudy Gay still had some wonderful moments while putting up good performances in the last week. Gay had his share of spectacular dunks and show-stopping shots. Few would doubt Gay's ability to come up with big plays.
Nevertheless, the supporting cast had the biggest highlights, as the Grizzlies ran off a four-game winning streak, showing how balanced the Grizzlies are as a team.
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This was one of several big plays in transition that the Grizzlies pulled off against the New Jersey Nets. The Grizzlies totaled 22 fast-break points in their 105-100 win against the Nets on Wednesday, 10 more than the Nets scored on the fast break.
On this play, O.J. Mayo put the wheels in motion. MarShon Brooks tried to cross him, but Mayo wouldn't have it. After he picked Brooks, Mayo forwarded the ball to Mike Conley, who made fireworks with Rudy Gay.
Mayo would have two steals on the game and Conley ended up with 10 assists, his highest total since January 28 against the Phoenix Suns.
The Grizzlies had it going early against the Nets. Marc Gasol popped one to Rudy Gay to give the Grizzlies some early separation in the win, as the Grizzlies took a 19-11 lead after the jam. That was Gay's second dunk of the game, and it gave him nine points for the game after less than eight minutes of play.
For Gasol, it was his second of three assists for the game.
The alley-oop didn't give the Grizzlies too much momentum, as the Nets would score 17 of the last 21 points of the quarter to take a 28-23 lead.
With time about to expire in the first half, Rudy Gay had just enough time to provide some magic for the Grizzlies. He mishandled the pass from Conley with only three seconds left, but he recovered to hit one from the wing under pressure.
The three brought the Grizzlies within two, 55-53, and gave them some energy heading into the locker room.
Gay gave the Nets fits all game, and he finished with 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
The Grizzlies had watched a 10-point lead slip away earlier in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets on Friday. They trailed in the last few minutes, but they never let the Nuggets take much of an advantage. While Denver led from the four-minute mark until the last second, Memphis didn't let them stretch the lead to more than three.
Rudy Gay had to come up with a big play to finish the game, but he couldn't connect. Fortunately, Dante Cunningham was there to pick up the garbage. A winning play could hardly come with more grace than that.
Tony Allen doesn't often come up with big plays on offense for the Grizzlies. Allen came up big in the waning seconds against the Golden State Warriors. The Grizzlies and Warriors went back and forth in the last few minutes on Saturday.
Rudy Gay was set to come up with a game-winner after coming up short against the Nuggets the night before. However, his shot caught the back iron and went off. Tony Allen made a graceful leap to catch it and put it right back up and in with 5.6 seconds left. Allen's leap was simply beautiful.
The defensive stalwart became an offensive hero on Saturday night.