Grizzlies Charge Behind Gasolís Triple-Double
Memphis 99, Seattle 74
SEATTLE, March 8 (Ticker) -- Pau Gasol and Jake Tsakalidis allowed the Memphis Grizzlies to flex some rare muscle inside.
Gasol recorded his first career triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists and Tsakalidis marked his seventh start of the season with season highs of 17 points and 15 rebounds as the Grizzlies coasted to a 99-74 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.
"That may be (Tsakalidis') finest night as a Grizzly," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "And a lot of his success came from Pau. Pau found him and other guys found him and he had a knack of getting in the right spot at the right time and converted. I'm very, very happy because he is an extremely hard worker."
Gasol's 12 assists was a high for Memphis this season and marked a dramatic recovery from one of his worst efforts Monday in a 115-101 loss in Denver, where he had 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting and a season-low one rebound.
"It felt good," Gasol said of the triple-double. "I was very aware of it. I'm not going to lie. It was good the way we shared the ball tonight and the way we made shots. It was really fun to be out there."
Fratello said the bounce-back victory came at just the right time for his club, which sits sixth in the Western Conference, a game behind the Los Angeles Clippers.
"It was a good win on the road, because we haven't had many road wins in the last dozen games or so," Fratello said after his team improved to 2-1 on its four-game road trip. "I thought we played with renewed spirit and energy tonight that we didn't have the other night (in Denver)."
Gasol took his time getting going Wednesday, scoring his first points on a three-point play with 2:44 left in the first quarter to give the Grizzlies a 15-10 lead.
Tsakalidis had six points and Gasol three down the stretch of the first half, and the two big men started a critical run in the third period. With 9:45 left, Gasol dunked and Tsakalidis buried a 19-footer on an assist from Gasol to put Memphis ahead, 51-39, and start a 16-7 burst.
The Grizzlies ended the quarter with an 11-4 run and pulled away in the fourth period with Gasol notching five assists in the final 6:09. One came on a lob to Tsakalidis and Gasol's 10th assist resulted in another dunk by the 7-2 Russian that made it 91-70 with 2:31 left.
The froncourt tandem enabled Memphis, which entered the night ranked 28th in rebounds per game (38.7), to claim a convincing 51-36 advantage on the boards. It was outrebounded, 41-21, by the Nuggets on Monday.
"It was a great way to bounce back from that Denver game," Gasol said. "We felt really bad about that loss. It was embarrassing and we put that behind us. We helped each other, we played defense and that's how we are going to win."
Chucky Atkins and Bobby Jackson chipped in 15 points apiece for Memphis, which never trailed en route to its third win in as many meetings with Seattle this season and second at KeyArena. The Grizzlies entered the season 1-17 all-time here.
Ray Allen led the cold-shooting SuperSonics with 18 points and made their only two 3-pointers. His teammates were 0-of-11 from the arc and 22-of-68 (32 percent) overall from the floor.
"I don't know what to say," said Sonics coach Bob Hill, whose team was coming off its most convincing victory of the season, a 113-81 win over Utah on Sunday. "We couldn't get into the game. Pau and Jake were just too much for us inside. We didn't get up and down the court. We weren't active defensively. We didn't move the ball. We were bad. There is no excuse."
Seattle was outscored in the paint, 44-34, in its third-lowest
scoring game of the season.