7:00 PM ET, December 27, 2002
7:00 PM ET, December 27, 2002
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies' defense is shutting down opponents in the second half of games this season.
Memphis' Pau Gasol finds a passing lane past two Orlando players. Gasol finished with 12 points and three assists.
Orlando was the latest to fall victim to the Grizzlies' 1-2-2 zone.
The Grizzlies held Orlando to 29 points after halftime, erased a 10-point third-quarter deficit and their reserves powered them to a 99-86 victory Friday night.
''I think that's our best defense,'' said forward Mike Batiste, who scored eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. ''It's easier to talk to people. We stepped our defense up, and we end up getting 10 deflections in the fourth quarter. That was really big for us to close it out.''
Orlando, which shot 63 percent in the first quarter, was held to 31 percent shooting after the half, including 27 percent in the third period on 6-for-22 from the field.
''They flipped the script on us,'' said Magic guard Tracy McGrady, the league's leading scorer, who scored only 10 in the second half.
''In the first half, they played us man, and we did a pretty good job on that,'' McGrady said. ''They made a change in the second half and played zone. You know how hard it is to beat a team if they're playing zone and you're not making jumpers.''
The Magic led by as many as 13 and held a 10-point lead early in the second half, but the Grizzlies' reserves scored 11 in a row to erase an early fourth-quarter deficit as Memphis took an 88-78 lead. Memphis' starters remained on the bench the rest of the game as the Grizzlies coasted to a victory.
''In the second half, we just couldn't get any jump shots,'' Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. ''We were hitting a few long 3s, but we didn't play the in-between game. We're a jumpshooting team, and that didn't work against their zone. It's a tough loss because this was a very winnable game. They just outtoughed us.''
McGrady was Orlando's offensive spark in the first half, scoring 25 to lead the Magic. McGrady, who shot 7-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, had 20 with less than two minutes gone in the second quarter.
Miller added 13 as Orlando led 57-47 at the half.
The Grizzlies, whose only first-half lead was after the opening basket, had 14 from Giricek, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range.
Memphis didn't seem to have an answer for McGrady in the first two periods. Shane Battier, who started the game to defend the league's leading scorer, picked up two fouls in six minutes, and Battier's replacement, rookie Drew Gooden, couldn't stop McGrady.
''The first half, they couldn't have shot the ball any better,'' Memphis coach Hubie Brown said. ''They hurt us with deep 3s. McGrady really had a spectacular half.''
Midway through the third, the Grizzlies toughened their defense, benefited from the zone and went on a 13-2 run to take a 63-62 lead when Battier scored inside. During the stretch, the Magic shot only 3-for-15.
Memphis eventually took a 73-72 lead into the final quarter, and the teams exchanged leads until the Grizzlies' 11 consecutive points in the fourth put it away.
Batiste said he wasn't peeking to see if Brown was getting the starters ready to return during the reserves' fourth-quarter play. But someone told him that after he hit a 3-pointer with just less than nine minutes left, the Memphis coach sat his starters back on the bench.
''They deserved to stay in,'' Brown said.
|FGM-FGA||31-77 (.403)||37-82 (.451)|
|3PM-3PA||7-29 (.241)||8-23 (.348)|
|FTM-FTA||17-18 (.944)||17-26 (.654)|
|Fast Break Points||2||7|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (1/1)||14 (0/0)|