Grizz Roll Past Jazz For Fifth Straight
Memphis 87, Utah 65
MEMPHIS, Tennessee, Jan. 6 (Ticker) -- Pau Gasol started just as fast as the Utah Jazz.
Gasol scored 14 of his 27 points in the first quarter and added a career-high 18 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks as the Memphis Grizzlies rolled to their fifth straight win, a 87-65 victory that ended the Jazz's five-game winning streak.
"Pau played a man's game tonight," Grizzlies forward Shane Battier said. "That's what a franchise player does."
"I knew they were not very fast off their feet and that they are very foul-prone - they put you on the line a lot," Gasol said. "I knew if I tried to take them off the dribble and attacked early, it would open up for me and my teammates."
Andrei Kirilenko, who finished with 20 points and six blocks, hit a runner off the glass to make it 66-57 with 6:27 to play, cutting the deficit to single digits for the first time in the second half.
The Grizzlies responded with a 18-4 surge over the next four minutes to put the game out of reach.
"I think we lost our effort," Kirilenko said. "In the beginning of the game we missed a lot of shots. We were losing our confidence, and we didn't fight. At the end of the game we tried, but it was too late."
Owners of the NBA's best defense, the Grizzlies limited Utah to 31 percent (24-of-78) from the field, including just just 1-of-11 from 3-point range, and forced 17 turnovers.
"When I look at the stats, I see 14, 16, 19 and 16 (points)," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said. "That's four good defensive quarters on a team that executes their offense as good as any team in the league."
"They know what they're doing defensively," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They pushed us around and didn't let us do anything. When people put pressure on us, it seems like we just don't believe in an offense."
Gasol, who is averaging 24 points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists over his last six games, had career highs of 15 free throws in 20 attempts.
"All the stats don't mean a thing if we don't get the win," Gasol said. "The most important stat is the win. Nothing else really matters if you don't get the win, but it's always easier when things are good."
Mike Miller added 13 points off the bench in his first action since spraining an ankle December 31 against Seattle. Miller was one of five players in double figures for Memphis, which won despite shooting 36 percent (25-of-69).
Devin Brown was the only other Jazz in double figures with 10 points. Mehmet Okur grabbed 12 boards.