CLEVELAND (AP) -- In a season of lows, the Cleveland Cavaliers hit a new one Saturday.
"That was very, very embarrassing,'' said Cleveland interim coach Keith Smart, who could be heard screaming at his players in the locker room afterward. "Extremely embarrassing. As embarrassing as you can get.''
Memphis came within one point of the most lopsided win in the franchise's eight-year history.
Gasol scored 11 points, two coming on a gorgeous move in the
lane, during the third quarter as the Grizzlies won for the first
time ever at Gund Arena after six losses. Stromile Swift added 20
points -- 14 on dunks -- as the Grizzlies gained their 20th win and
improved to 10-10 this season against Eastern Conference teams.
And it was so easy. Memphis had 13 dunks and 14 layups.
"We just didn't play defense,'' said Cavs forward Darius Miles. "That's the same team that started the year 0-13 or whatever, and we made them look like the Lakers.''
Meanwhile, the Cavs (11-52) dropped their sixth straight, 12th
in 13 games and were demoralized by a team that came in just 4-25
on the road.
"They may not have any pride,'' said Smart, now 3-18 since taking over when John Lucas was fired. "But I have pride in my work.''
Cleveland was without rookie guard Dajuan Wagner, who sprained
his right knee in Friday night's loss at New Orleans and was rested
as a precaution.
Wagner wouldn't have helped much.
"It's the most embarrassing loss of my career,'' Miles said.
"I didn't lose like this in elementary school. This is a team that
we should beat. They're down on the bottom with us. The crowd booed
us. I can't blame them for that. I just can't believe we lost like that to Memphis.''
Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 15 points for Cleveland, but had just one after the first quarter. Ricky Davis had 18 points and rookie Carlos Boozer 17 for the Cavs, who finished with 28 turnovers one night after losing by 26 at New Orleans.
After looking at the depressing stat sheet, Davis flung the piece of paper into his locker.
"No comment,'' Davis said, apparently fearful of being fined. "I'm not talking. I'm saving my money.''
Miles, too, refused to give his opinion on the Cavs' many, many problems.
"I can't even say,'' Miles said. "I know what's wrong, but I can't say.''
The Grizzlies led by just six points at the start of the third period but didn't need long to blow it open.
During a 12-0 run, Gasol took a pass near the foul line,
dribbled it behind his back with his right hand, caught it with his
left and dropped in a soft finger roll with Milt Palacio draped on
Down by 21, the Cavs scored their first basket in a span of 5:35
and closed within 85-73. However, Memphis coach Hubie Brown called
a 20-second timeout to yell at his team and the Grizzlies responded
with a 23-1 run.
"We just ran with it,'' Miller said. "That's our style. We knew they might be tired after playing in New Orleans last night and we wanted to jump out on them.''
Miller scored eight points in the final 1:47 of the first half
for the Grizzlies, who overcame a nine-point deficit with a 25-10
run to take a 61-55 lead at the break.
Memphis had eight dunks in the first half and five layups.
Memphis' most lopsided win was a 27-point victory (101-74)
at Dallas on Nov. 8, 2000. ... Wagner, averaging 13.4 points per
game, will have his knee examined on Sunday. He continued playing
on the knee after hurting it in Friday's first half. ... As the
losses pile up, Cleveland's lottery hopes improve. The NBA's worst
team will have a 25 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick, Akron
high school star LeBron James. Cavs fans are keeping close track.
One brought a sign that read: "If you lose, LeBron will come''.