Miller Leads Grizzlies to Fourth Straight Win
Memphis 91, Orlando 69
MEMPHIS, Tennessee, Dec. 2 (Ticker) --
Miller returned from a two-game absence to score 20 of his season-high 25 points in the first half as the Memphis Grizzlies coasted to their fourth straight win, an effortless 91-69 victory over the shorthanded Orlando Magic.
"It's amazing how well you can shoot when you can't see," Miller said. "I'm just fresh. That time off was like having an All-Star break in the middle of the season."
"It was huge to have him back," Grizzlies forward Shane Battier said. "He was awesome. That's Mike. He's such a huge part of our ball team. He can really shoot, and he really stretches the defense out."
Miller scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting in the first quarter for the Grizzlies, who shot a blistering 74 percent (14-of-19) and used a 27-6 run to help open a 33-15 lead.
Memphis held a 55-32 advantage at intermission as Miller scored 12 points in the second quarter.
Without star guard Steve Francis, who leads the Magic in scoring, assists and steals but was sidelined with a bruised chest and sore left shoulder, Orlando could not get untracked.
"Everyone had to step up and play team basketball," Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu said. "Without (Francis), everyone knew they were going to get more shots."
Orlando got no closer than 19 points late in the third quarter. The Grizzlies opened the final period with a pass from Bobby Jackson to rookie Hakim Warrick on a pick-and-roll for a thunderous dunk that brought the crowd to its feet and kicked off a 15-4 run, leading to an 83-51 advantage.
Jackson scored 13 points and Damon Stoudamire added 11 for the Grizzlies, who finished at 52 percent (31-of-59) and scored 17 fast-break points.
Memphis saw its bench hold a 57-21 edge in scoring and all 12 players dent the scoresheet as it won by at least 20 points for the third straight game.
Deshawn Stevenson scored 22 points and Turkoglu added 11 for the Magic, who have lost two in a row after a four-game winning streak.
"We're the type of team that if we don't play with all-out energy all the time, we're not going to play real well," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "If we don't play with energy we won't play well. We got stuck in a jump-shooting contest tonight, which we can't afford to do."