7:00 PM ET, January 3, 2004
7:00 PM ET, January 3, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- A couple of home wins put the Memphis Grizzlies back at .500 -- just in time for a five-game West Coast swing.
Swift shot 6-of-10, blocked two shots and had five offensive rebounds as Memphis controlled the boards 51-30. Memphis also outscored Orlando 62-28 in the paint.
"The thing that helped the most was the rebounding," Memphis coach Hubie Brown said. "Stromile had a great game. ...He made a lot of things happen for us."
Memphis handed out 35 assists, a season high, led by 10 from Jason Williams.
"As long as we keep playing hard, everything will be OK," Memphis center Lorenzen Wright said. "Defense is a very important part of our team. If we play good defense, we're going to win games."
"I don't think by any stretch of the imagination that this is the same team that lost 19 in a row," Orlando coach Johnny Davis said. "So, I don't think that will be an issue. The larger issue is that we need to come out and play hard every night and give ourselves a push from the start of the game."
The Memphis domination inside indicated a bigger problem for Orlando.
McGrady was critical of the team's defense and said slow starts put them in such a hole that they can't overcome the deficits.
"A lot of people can score in this league. Just not everyone can play defense," McGrady said. "We're showing that we can't play defense right now. We're a bad defensive team."
Memphis starts the West Coast swing Tuesday in Portland, then visits Utah, Seattle, the Clippers and Golden State.
"It's a big trip for us," Shane Battier said. "After this trip, we have a lot more home games than away games. So if we can gain some momentum, it will be a nice end of the season for us."
The Grizzlies used a 16-2 run midway through the second quarter to build a 19-point lead.
As has been the case recently, Memphis needed a boost from the reserves -- led by Wells. The swingman came off the bench stealing, driving and shooting, collecting 10 points in six minutes to erase an early Orlando lead.
"(The Grizzlies) made it difficult for us. They've got a very deep team," Davis said. "They just kind of wear you down. They've got a lot of players to throw at you, and they don't have a significant dropoff when they go to their second unit."
McGrady led Orlando with 15 points at halftime, hitting his first four shots, but he shot 1-of-5 after the opening spurt -- mainly because of Battier's defense -- as the Magic trailed 60-49.
"You just hope that guy misses shots. He's so good," Battier said. "He's going to make his number of shots because he's that good. I just tried to give him something to think about and get a hand in his face."
Memphis dominated the first half, outrebounding Orlando 28-17, outscoring the Magic 32-10 in the paint and 22-6 on fast-break points.
Memphis continued to build the advantage in the third quarter, taking a 92-72 lead into the fourth. The Magic whittled away, and it was 107-101 after McGrady hit a 3-pointer with 1:09 left. But Orlando could get no closer.
^Notes:@ Keith Bogans started his fourth game of the season for Orlando in place of Gordan Giricek. ...At one point in the fourth quarter, Wells blew a kiss to official Violet Palmer rather than argue a call. ...McGrady has tied or led Orlando in scoring 25 times in the Magic's 34 games. ...Memphis' previous high in assists this season was 32 against the Lakers on Nov. 23. ...Swift's rebounds were one short of his career high. ...Orlando is 2-14 when its opponent scores 100 points or more. ...Memphis reserve C Jake Tsakalidis was not with the team. He was with his wife at the hospital as the couple awaited the birth of their first child. ... Memphis swept the season series from Orlando for the second consecutive year.
|FGM-FGA||37-78 (.474)||45-87 (.517)|
|3PM-3PA||8-17 (.471)||5-17 (.294)|
|FTM-FTA||21-30 (.700)||17-22 (.773)|
|Fast Break Points||7||12|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||26 (2/0)|