MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies got aggressive on
defense down the stretch.
Memphis, which had seven players in double figures, outscored
the Magic 18-4 in the final 4:05 to secure its 12th win in 14
games. Orlando lost its second straight and has dropped three of
"We just picked up our defensive intensity and got stops,"
Swift said. "We rebounded the ball at the end of the game, and
that was the key."
The Grizzlies needed the balanced offense after Pau Gasol, their
leading scorer and rebounder, was placed on the injured list
earlier in the day with a left foot injury. In addition, key
reserve Bonzi Wells sat out with a groin strain.
"There's no panic," Swift said. "We've got enough guys on
this team with talent who can play. When somebody goes down, we can
James Posey and Lorenzen Wright each scored 12 points and
grabbed eight rebounds. Earl Watson and Shane Battier, who helped
during the final rally, added 11 points apiece, although they were
a combined 7-of-22 from the field.
It marked the second straight night the Magic couldn't
capitalize on their opponent being without its top scorer. Houston
played without Tracy McGrady, who was tending to a family
emergency, while defeating the Magic 89-78 on Monday night.
"That's tough, man," Francis said. "We faced the same thing
(Monday) night and couldn't get it done."
The teams exchanged leads midway through the final period. A
three-point play by Swift followed by a 3-pointer by Mike Miller
and two free throws and a tip-in by Battier capped a 10-0 run,
giving Memphis an 87-79 lead with 1:31 left. Orlando never got
closer the rest of the way.
"It wasn't a very pretty game up until the last five minutes,"
Battier said. "We really willed the victory. Guys made huge shots
and then just huge plays. In a game like that, when it is kind of
ugly, that's often the difference."
Memphis led by as many as 11 in the first half, but Nelson and
Hill keyed a second-quarter Magic rally, tying the game 42-all at
halftime. Hill had 14 points, and Nelson hit his first five shots
from the field for 11 points.
"We defended really well in the first quarter and didn't play
well in the second quarter," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said.
Jason Williams and Swift had nine points each in the first half,
but Memphis couldn't take advantage of a 20-10 margin in the paint
for the half, an advantage that ended up 40-20 in the Grizzlies'
favor for the night.
"We gave up 40 points in the paint, and that's way too many,
especially without Pau Gasol," Magic coach Johnny Davis said.
Battier said it's now a matter of the rest of the Grizzlies
filling the void left by Gasol's absence, not only on the offensive
end, but on the boards and in the middle. Gasol is expected to miss
about two weeks.
"Like so many times before, when someone goes down on our team,
we have to say, all right, let's do this collectively," Battier
said. "Everyone has to step up and play well in Pau's absence."
Don Poier, the Grizzlies' late play-by-play announcer, was
honored with a moment of silence before the game and a video
tribute at the end of the first quarter. Poier, 53, died Friday
while the Grizzlies were on the road in Denver. He had been the
team's only announcer since the then-Vancouver Grizzlies entered
the NBA in 1995. ... Swift started in Gasol's spot. ... Hill, who
has been nursing a bruised right wrist, played 39 minutes. The only
game in the last six Hill has not played at least 30 minutes was
when he sat out Saturday's game against Philadelphia. ... Nelson's
17 points was two short of his season high. ... Orlando was 19-4
when holding a lead entering the fourth period. ... There were 14
lead changes and 12 ties in the game.