Monday, December 9, 2002

GRIZ BACK IN WIN COLUMN

Gasol, Wright lift Memphis past Suns

Posted By on Mon, Dec 9, 2002 at 4:00 AM

The Memphis Grizzlies were missing two starters and playing sloppily, but the Phoenix Suns still could not stop them. Pau Gasol scored 21 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and Lorenzen Wright added 17 and 11 as the Grizzlies overcame 31 turnovers to record just their third victory of the season, 102-94 over the Suns. "With Lorenzen Wright in the game creating space, it opened things up for Pau," Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown said. "I'm very proud of Pau, he played big. He had a terrific all-around game." "I was just telling him to get some rebounds," Wright said of the long but lean Gasol. "Sometimes Pau can go into a little lull out there when people start to push him around. I was just wanted to pump him up." Wesley Person contributed 17 points and rookie Mike Batiste 14 for Memphis, which was missing starting point guard Jason WilliamsShane Battier (leg infection). Rookie forward Drew Gooden, hobbled by a bruised knee, scored only eight points in 19 minutes. But Memphis shot 54 percent (38-of-71) from the field and limited Phoenix to 42 percent (41-of-97), and won the rebounding battle, 47-33. "The frontcourt is the key," said Brevin Knight, who had nine points, 11 assists and five turnovers starting in place of Williams. "Without those guys getting rebounds we can't push the ball up the court. They make my job easy." "Brevin was fantastic for us," Brown said. "He played about 10 minutes the other night but tonight he came out and gave us 33, and he was sick before the game. ... He made big decisions on the floor in the flow and tonight everything worked out for him." The Grizzlies, who snapped a five-game losing streak, took the lead for good, 40-39, when Wright dunked and made a free throw with 3:15 left in the second quarter. Memphis led 49-44 at halftime and 72-68 entering the fourth quarter, but Phoenix got no closer than 83-79 on a jump hook by Shawn Marion midway through the final period. "It feels good to win," Gasol said. "I never had a year like last year and now to start this year it makes things difficult. But I just go out and play ball because that is what I do. If we go out and play unselfish then we'll win more games. If people come out and want to take their shots and be selfish we'll lose." Stephon Marbury scored 35 points, Marion added 23 and Memphis native Penny Hardaway 17 for the Suns, who were opening a season-high five-game road trip. "It's not the way to start a road trip," Marbury said. "I take this as the hardest game of a road trip. You always want to win that first game. It helps your confidence as a team when you get that first game." Phoenix had won five of seven games but committed 18 turnovers en route to falling to 1-6 on the road this season. The Suns have lost four in a row away from America West Arena. "We can't let a team make that many mistakes and get away with it," Marbury said. Memphis, which is 0-10 on the road, improved to 3-8 at The Pyramid. "It feels great to get a win, any win," Wright said. "If we work hard in every game, then we will have a chance to win." "Those guys are hungry," Hardaway said. "They attacked the basket and got to the rim. They capitalized on our turnovers and we didn't capitalize on theirs."

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