Fans have missed the old O.J. Mayo. You know the one who always scores, finds his way in the paint and puts up floaters and jumper after jumper. The quick one. The one who plays with confidence. Fans have missed the old O.J. Mayo.
You know the one who always scores, finds his way in the paint and puts up floaters and jumper after jumper. The quick one. The one who plays with confidence.
|O.J. Mayo, who was a key player in the Grizz’s recent win over the San Antonio Spurs at the FedExForum, shoots a jumper with confidence over George Hill. (Photo by Warren Roseborough)|
All can recall the excitement that Grizzlies fans felt when O.J. Mayo played his rookie year. This season, after a string of mishaps that could make many a basketball player crumble, Mayo seems to have emerged from his storm with grace.
Mayo had his second 20-point game performance coming off the bench for the Memphis Grizzlies in 27 minutes when they defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-89 at the FedExForum last Saturday (April 2).
He also racked five rebounds and is averaging 16.5 points per game.
Head Coach Lionel Hollins said he told Mayo to get back to what he’s use to doing, and that’s scoring points.
Mayo took to the direction.
“Coach and I had a conversation a week ago,” Mayo said. “He told me to just go out there and score points. He told me to get back to what I know. I’ve been practicing and working hard.”
The evidence supports his assertion. He is in the practice facility many nights working on his shooting.
He’s been a force off the bench that the organization has been awaiting. The Grizzlies have had low-scoring bench presence, and now, with the high-scoring numbers that Mayo is bringing to the game, the emergence of the bench has been more than just a notion.
Timberwolves Guard Luke Ridnour said Mayo was one of the reasons his team couldn’t overcome the turnovers.
“Big (Zach) Randolph is tough down there and (O.J.) Mayo is hitting shots, they made it tough.”
Randolph knows the importance of bench scoring.
“We kind of came out a little lethargic and a little slow when the game began, but we picked our energy up. Guys came off the bench and played well. O.J. (Mayo) had a great game and other guys chipped in and contributed.”
Tony Allen attributed the win to the bench, and many other victories as well.
“For the most part, we buckled down when we needed to and we had big guys coming off the bench like O.J. Mayo, Leon Powe and Darrell Arthur that gave us a big lift,” Allen said.
According to some of Mayo’s teammates, he’s embraced his new role and has gotten acclimated to how he uses his skill set to work it out.
Powe said the bench’s energy has picked up.
“We try to provide that every time we get into the game. O.J. (Mayo), he calls us the goon squad. We just go in there, try to play hard, play D and pick (the starters) up in any type of way they need us to.”
And increasingly in the mix is Mayo, who has regained his confidence.
Welcome back Mayo.