Grizzlies Surge to Sixth Straight Win
Memphis 89, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 73
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 6 (Ticker) -- Pau Gasol and Bobby Jackson supplied the offense, but it is the continued defensive pressure that has the Memphis Grizzlies streaking.
Gasol collected 29 points and 15 rebounds while Jackson added 21 points in 20 minutes off the bench as the Grizzlies extended their winning streak to six games with an 89-73 victory over the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
"We're playing with a lot of confidence," Jackson said. "We're shooting the ball extremely well and we're knocking down shots. Everbody has each other's back and it's all about chemistry."
In the first five games of the streak, the Grizzlies surrendered an average of 76.6 points. Owner of the stingiest defense in the NBA, they continued the pressure by holding the Hornets to 39 percent (31-of-80) shooting.
Hornets rookie Chris Paul, who leads the team in scoring, was held to a season-low two points. Third-leading scorer Speedy Claxton was limited to six.
"Our overall defense I was pleased with," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "We tried to load up and give extra help on (Claxton and Paul), which is not an easy job. They're really good."
"That's our bread-and-butter, our defense," Jackson said. "When I first got here in training camp I said, 'Man, we're working a lot on defense.' ... I see why we were because (Fratello) wanted us to be one of the top five defensive teams in the league, and we're there."
The Grizzlies were never really challenged. They took the lead for good on Jackson's reverse layup with 51 seconds left in the opening quarter that made it 19-18.
Scoring in double figures in every game during the streak, Jackson capped a 13-2 run with a basket that gave Memphis its biggest lead, 70-49, with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
"I feel comfortable," Jackson said. "I was struggling in the beginning and (Fratello) had to find a way to get me more minutes. I think that's why I was struggling, because I was only playing in little spurts. I wasn't happy with the minutes I was getting, but I'm happy now."
Gasol helped maintain the lead by making 15-of-19 from the line.
"I wanted to be more aggressive tonight going to the hoop," Gasol said. "They weren't double-teaming me at first, and I tried to take advantage of that."
"We changed it up in the second half to keep (Gasol) out of the paint and to trying not to give him foul shots," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "I was hoping it would get us in a more aggressive mood and mind-set."
Desmond Mason and David West scored 15 points apiece but Paul, Claxton and forward P.J. Brown combined to go 4-of-26 from the floor for the Hornets (8-9), who have lost two in a row to fall below .500.
"I think they defended the ball really well," Paul said. "They had good rotations and we got good shots that just didn't fall tonight."