SEATTLE (AP) -- Pau Gasol wasn't about to lie. Memphis' All-Star
forward knew exactly what he needed for the first triple-double of
Gasol got the assist he sought when Jake Tsakalidis flashed open
along the baseline for a wide-open dunk with 2:32 left, leaving
Gasol with a giant grin all the way down the court.
Gasol scored 21 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had 12 assists,
and the Grizzlies routed the Seattle SuperSonics 99-74 on Wednesday
night for their fourth win in five games.
"It was just overall, a game that felt really good," Gasol
said. "I was very aware of it, I'm not going to lie. I knew that I
needed the assist."
Gasol nearly eclipsed his previous career high of nine assists a
few minutes earlier, but Mike Miller missed a pair of open jumpers.
Tsakalidis' dunk was Gasol's 10th assist and he added two more in
the final minutes.
Gasol joined New Jersey's Jason Kidd as the only players in the
league this season to have at least 12 points, rebounds and assists
in a game.
"It was good the way we shared the ball tonight and made
shots," said Gasol, who added four steals and three blocked shots.
Gasol and Tsakalidis dominated the interior against Seattle's
young frontcourt. Tsakalidis had a season-high 17 points and 15
rebounds, shooting 7-of-10, as Memphis outrebounded Seattle 51-35.
In his third season with Memphis, Tsakalidis agreed afterward
that Wednesday night was his best performance with the Grizzlies.
"I was in the right place at the right time," Tsakalidis said.
"They double-teamed Pau every time, so I just had to find the open
Ray Allen led Seattle with 18 points, but took just 10 shots.
Excluding Seattle's Jan. 11 game against Orlando where Allen was
ejected after just 8 minutes, it was the fewest shot attempts he's
taken this season.
The Sonics shot just 34 percent, their third-lowest of the
season. The 74 points were also their third-lowest output.
Johan Petro scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds, and Luke
Ridnour scored 10 points for the Sonics, who were trying to win
consecutive games for the first time since late January.
"We just couldn't make a shot," Seattle coach Bob Hill said.
"Ray couldn't make a shot. Luke couldn't make a shot. ... We
couldn't sink our teeth into the game."
Atkins was 4-of-5 and scored 12 points in the third quarter,
when the Grizzlies turned a seven-point halftime lead into a
Atkins scored seven points during a 9-2 run that pushed the
Grizzlies' lead to 62-46 midway through the quarter. Gasol added
eight points during the quarter.
Jackson shot 6-of-9, and made two 3-pointers early in the fourth
quarter to turn back any Seattle rally.
"I thought we played with a renewed spirit and energy,"
Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. The Grizzlies lost to Denver
115-101 on Monday.
The effort was disappointing for the Sonics, who hadn't won
consecutive games since Jan. 22 and 25. In the last eight days,
Seattle beat New Orleans, nearly knocked off Detroit and beat Utah
by 32 points on Sunday night.
But Seattle started flat, and never found its shot.
The Sonics' first five field goals all came on dunks -- three by
Chris Wilcox, one by Petro and one by Rashard Lewis. Ridnour
finally made Seattle's first jump shot, a 20-footer with 49 seconds
left in the first quarter.
While Shane Battier struggled offensively, his defense was
superb. Battier defending Allen and Lewis and frustrated both.
Allen struggled to shoot over the bigger defender and Lewis had
difficulty with Battier's physical play. Lewis was held eight
points on 4-of-12 shooting.
Seattle signed F Marcus Fizer to a 10-day contract on
Wednesday. The former No. 4 overall pick of Chicago in 2000 had
been playing for Austin of the NBA Developmental League and was
averaging 20.4 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Toros. ... Memphis G
Eddie Jones missed his second straight game with a sprained left
foot. Jones was hopeful of practicing on Thursday. ... It was the
500th game as a head coach for Hill.
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