Miller Helps Grizzlies End Offensive Woes
Memphis 93, Washington 82
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (Ticker) -- A new season high in points for Mike Miller signaled the end of a pair of slumps for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Miller scored a season-best 30 points as the Grizzlies snapped a four-game losing streak with a 93-82 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Those struggles appeared to continue when the Grizzlies fell behind, 21-13, on a layup by Antawn Jamison with 2:21 left in the first quarter.
But behind Miller, Memphis chipped away, taking its first lead of the second half at 56-55 on a fadeaway jumper by Pau Gasol with 7:12 remaining in the third period.
"That win was so big because, one, we had a four-game losing streak, and, two, they jumped on us for an early lead in the first half on the road," Miller said. "Things can fall apart easily when something like that happens. But tonight we showed some resiliency and came back and won the second half."
The Grizzlies went on a 16-3 run across the third and fourth quarters, opening a 75-64 advantage with 11:10 remaining on a turnaround jumper by rookie Hakim Warrick. Miller had six points and Warrick four in the spurt.
"Anytime that a guy (Miller) gets hot like that, it's going to create a lot of attention and it's going to open up things for other players," Gasol said. "Hakim Warrick got a lot of layups and Lorenzen (Wright) got a few layups just because of all the attention Mike was attracting from all the pick-and-rolls."
Gilbert Arenas and Jamison both hit jumpers to close the gap, but Miller hit a tough shot from the right baseline for a 77-69 edge with 9:15 left.
"Mike Miller caught fire and they just executed well at the end of the game," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "You have to know where he is on the floor, and he was drawing a lot of attention. He was a difference-maker tonight and did a great job as far as carrying his team and making some big shots."
Memphis later put together an 11-3 run to take command, building an 88-75 bulge on another turnaround shot by Warrick with 3:49 to go.
One of the leading candidates for the Sixth Man Award, Miller shot 12-of-19 with four 3-pointers.
"He should be," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "I think of him as a starter, but we've got him coming off the bench. But whether he starts or comes off (the bench), he's going to give you the same effort. He's been pretty good for us."
The 2001 Rookie of the Year, Miller said he simply wants to contribute to a winning team.
"I just want to continue to come off the bench and help our team win," he said. "You come in and you play and you do what you can do with the minutes that you're given. Right now, I just go out there and try to give our team a boost. I just have to come in there and elevate us a little more and give us energy off the bench."
Gasol and Eddie Jones both scored 13 points for the Grizzlies, who went 8-of-21 from the arc. Warrick scored nine points.
Jamison scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Arenas netted 24 and handed out eight assists for the Wizards, who lost to the Grizzlies for just the third time in the last 10 meetings.
"With Mike Miller coming off the bench and making the shots that he did, he was almost undefendable in a sense," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "He got hot and we got a little bit sloppy defensively. We lost to a very good team."