MEMPHIS, Tenn, March 7 (Ticker) -- Jason Williams
led seven players in double figures with 33 points as the Memphis Grizzlies snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 122-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
In his first game back from a recurring toe injury, Williams made 13-of-21 shots, handed out 11 assists and helped secure the franchise's first victory over the Pacers.
"I was taking what they give me," Williams said. "Anytime someone goes under on the pick-and-roll on me, I'm going to shoot it. I was really surprised because of the time that I took off, that I shot the ball the way I did, because I don't feel that I'm a really good shooter."
"Jason Williams had a great game," Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said. "He hit shots from all over the floor. We scored 111 points which was enough to win the basketball game, but we gave up 122. It was just a bad night for us, but we ran into a hot team and we've got to give them credit."
The Grizzlies had lost their first 12 meetings with the Pacers, including an 83-82 setback at Indiana on January 30. Indiana was the only team the Grizzlies had not beaten since entering the league in 1995.
On two occasions in the second half, Williams helped prevent disaster with his offense and precision passing.
The first time came midway through the third period, when he scored six consecutive points to give the Grizzlies a 79-73 lead with 6:15 left.
Williams had plenty of help in this one. Rookies Shane Battier
and Pau Gasol
had 23 and 12 points, respectively. Rodney Buford
added 20 off the bench, while Grant Long
and Stromile Swift
chipped in 13 and 12, respectively.
The Grizzlies generated their highest offensive output in a non-regulation game. Memphis' franchise best is 129 in a triple-overtime loss to Boston on March 17, 1999.
Memphis also shot a franchise best 60 percent (51-of-85). Its previous high was 59.5 percent at Phoenix on April 19, 1997.
Williams has missed 17 games with his injury. During his most recent absence, much of the scoring load had fallen upon Battier and Gasol.
During the slide, the Grizzlies failed to score 80 points five times while shooting 39.6 percent.
"It was more up and down than what I like," Buford said. "He (Williams) was feeling it, knocking down shots and it's great to have him back. As you can see we're a lot better and more up-tempo. He wants to get it and go and we got it and went. We had the most fun out there since the Lakers win."
Indiana rallied and took a 94-92 lead on rookie Jamaal Tinsley's
3-pointer with just over nine minutes left. But Williams sparked a 9-0 run with a series of outstanding passes as Memphis opened a 101-94 lead on Battier's 3-pointer with 7:06 to play.
led the Pacers with 31 points while Tinsley fell two points shy of his career high with 28.
For most of the game, Tinsley matched Williams. But with the Pacers trying to rally one last time, Tinsley was called for a charge that sealed the game.
The Grizzlies made 5-of-6 foul shots to seal one of their best wins of the season.
"It was very important," Long said. "At some point you have to feel like your back was against the wall. We've lost quite a few games where we weren't even in the contest in the fourth quarter."
The Grizzlies (16-45) have won 11 games against teams battling for playoff position and have 16 games left against postseason contenders.
Memphis came out on fire in the first half, taking a 71-59 halftime lead on 67 percent shooting.
But a lack of execution in a 15-point third quarter made things interesting. After Indiana's Austin Croshere
hit a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the third, the game was tied at 86-86.
"When we tied it up in the third quarter, we thought we could get the game under control but they just kept coming," Thomas said.
Indiana (30-30) failed to move into a sixth-place tie with the idle Orlando Magic. The Pacers are just a half-game in front of the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards.
"We know we gave one away, so we'll come out tommorow and beat Philadelphia," Pacers swingman Ron Artest
said. "It makes you mad. It just makes you want to go there and get a win. Now it's mandatory."