7:00 PM ET, March 19, 2003
7:00 PM ET, March 19, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Great shooting and lots of points are leading to plenty of wins for the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies shot 61 percent from the field Wednesday night, built a quick lead and easily defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 128-101 for their seventh victory in eight games.
Over that stretch, Memphis has shot better than 56 percent five times - including twice at better than 60 percent -- while averaging more than 109 points. In their only loss, Tuesday at Minnesota, the Grizzlies shot 38 percent from the field.
"It's contagious,'' said shooting guard Wesley Person, who had 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting. "I guess teams get in those grooves where they are shooting the ball really well. The main thing is we are playing unselfish. Everybody is involved, and that makes it much easier.''
The game was delayed for 15 minutes with 2:49 remaining in the fourth quarter for President Bush's speech regarding the attack on Iraq.
Memphis had a 23-2 run late in the first quarter, including 15 straight, for an 18-point advantage after 12 minutes. Cleveland never recovered, trailing by as many as 22 in the first half and 30 in the fourth quarter.
Carlos Boozer, the league's leading field goal shooter among rookies (53 percent), shot 12-of-15 from the field to lead the Cavaliers with 27 points. Boozer also grabbed 12 rebounds. Darius Miles scored 18 points, and Jumaine Jones finished with 15.
Cleveland, which has the league's worst record (12-55), has lost 15 of 17. Miles couldn't believe the Cavaliers, who lost 115-89 to the Grizzlies in Cleveland on March 5, were losing by so many to a team that started 0-13.
"I feel so embarrassed to lose to the Grizzlies,'' Miles said. "A team that started (zero) for the century. It would have felt better if we could have tied up the series with them one for one.''
Cavalier coach Keith Smart was a little more diplomatic about his team's play, but said it takes perfection for Cleveland to even compete against other teams.
"Everyone has to play well for us to be successful or even have a chance to win a basketball game,'' Smart said. "(With) one or two guys not playing well then we don't have a chance.''
Memphis hit 61 percent in the first half, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, while Cleveland shot 47 percent and was hindered by 11 turnovers. Still, Memphis coach Hubie Brown was not pleased with his team's 66-52 lead at the break.
"We didn't like the way we were playing,'' Brown said. "We gave up too many dunks and didn't have enough coverage. This is not the way we want to play basketball. We don't want to play as if it is a summer league or exhibition game.''
The Cavaliers made a run early in the second half, led by Zydrunas Ilgauskas' 11 points in the first six minutes, to close to 82-72. Memphis would eventually rebuild the lead to 95-81 heading into the fourth.
"We're looking forward to being at the next level,'' Gasol said. "We're already past the losing habit, and now we're looking forward to beating good teams and being at the top of the league.''
|FGM-FGA||43-89 (.483)||52-85 (.612)|
|3PM-3PA||2-12 (.167)||8-15 (.533)|
|FTM-FTA||13-22 (.591)||16-22 (.727)|
|Fast Break Points||7||11|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||20 (0/0)|