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Sixth-man Mayo takes on leading role

The Sports Xchange
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Mike Miller is the only Memphis Grizzlies player in history to win the NBA's Sixth Man Award.

Griz guard O.J. Mayo won't win that award this year. It will probably go to Oklahoma City's James Harden, who also won last season.

But Mayo has had his best season as a pro in the sixth-man role he shifted into last year, and his performance in the Grizzlies' 105-98 Game 2 victory over the Clippers on Wednesday night in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs is indicative he'll be a top Sixth Man candidate next year.

Mayo scored 20 points in 24 minutes, but he gave more than just his offense, which featured two clutch 3-pointers and 6-of-6 free throws.

In the fourth quarter, Griz coach Lionel Hollins switched Mayo to defend Clippers point guard Chris Paul. Paul had 29 points in the game, but Mayo limited him to 1-of-4 shooting in the final period.

"Their physicality killed us in the fourth quarter of Game 1," said Mayo, who also scored 10 points in the final period. "I take a lot of blame for losing the late lead in Game 1. That's why when I guarded Chris Paul in this game, I tried to body him. I'm a bit bigger than him, so I tried to be more physical than him."

Griz point guard Mike Conley said it wasn't anything that Mayo hadn't done all season.

"He was a difference maker in a lot of games during the regular season and he was a difference maker in this game," Conley said.

The series shifts to Staples Center in Los Angeles for Game 3 Saturday.

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