MILWAUKEE, April 1 (Ticker)
-- Pau Gasol
appears to be all the way back.
With his return, the Memphis Grizzlies again are a factor in the
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Gasol scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as the
Grizzlies snapped a three-game losing streak with a 93-82
victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, who have lost eight in a row.
The win enabled Memphis (40-31) to move into seventh place in
the West, one-half game ahead of Denver and three games ahead of
With their leading scorer and rebounder back in the mix, the
Grizzlies are hoping to return to the form that saw them win 14
of 18 games before Gasol's injury.
Gasol was sidelined for nearly two months with plantar
fasciaitis in his left foot before returning to action March 20.
He slowly was brought back into the rotation and has shined in
the last two games.
"It's hard being out for so long to come back with so much on
the line," Gasol said. "I just want to be out there fighting for
my team and for wins, that's all that matters."
"After playing five games after missing two months, I don't know
if it's fair to say that he's turning the corner, but I know he
was better tonight than he was the other night and the night
before that," Memphis coach Mike Fratello
The 24-year-old from Spain was held scoreless in the third
quarter, when the Grizzlies scored just 13 points, but made the
plays down the stretch.
After Desmond Mason
hit a pair of free throws to give the Bucks
a 75-74 lead with 7:16 to go, Gasol assisted on the first two
baskets of a 10-1 run and capped the burst with back-to-back
hoops for an 84-76 advantage with less than three minutes left.
Milwaukee got within 87-82 in the final minute before Gasol's
dunk and steal closed it out.
"We did better defensively and were able to shut down (Michael)
Redd and Mason in the fourth. If you can stop the top two
scorers it is a great advantage," said Gasol, who had three of
Memphis' four blocked shots.
Redd scored just two points in the second half and was held
scoreless in the fourth quarter.
scored 18 points and Mike Miller added 14 for the
Memphis, which hosts Denver on Tuesday.
"This one wasn't pretty, but at this point in the season we're
not looking for style points, we're just looking to win and to
get into the playoffs," Battier said.
Mason scored 24 points, but the remainder of the Bucks' starting
five shot just 26 percent (11-of-42). Milwaukee made only one
3-pointer and committed 18 turnovers in extending its longest
losing streak since a nine-game slide in March 1998.
had 12 rebounds but was the leading example of
Milwaukee's shooting woes. He missed his first seven shots and
his first three free throws before finally scoring early in the
"When it rains, it pours, and unfortunately we're in the middle
of a bad storm right now," Smith said.
Smith finished 3-of-8 from the line, part of the Bucks' 31-of-44
effort. They missed four of their last eight free throws to
hurt their comeback chances.
"When you're in a close game, you have to be able to finish the
shots at the basket and be able to step up to the line and make
free throws," Milwaukee coach Terry Porter