Gasol scored 29 points and had seven rebounds to lead the Grizzlies over the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-106 on Saturday night.
Gasol made 11-of-15 shots from the field for Memphis, which won its second straight game.
Eddie Jones added 19 points and Mike Miller finished with 13. Memphis shot 56 percent from the field and made 11-of-18 3-pointers.
"You have to identify your team and try to figure your team out," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said of having the outside shooting of Jones, Miller and reserve point guard Bobby Jackson.
"We're not as big and muscular as other teams, but we can shoot the 3. That's a plus."
Memphis led 82-81 entering the final period, but 3-pointers by Miller and Jackson were part of a 13-2 run to open the quarter and give Memphis its biggest lead at 95-83 on Dahntay Jones' dunk with just under nine minutes left.
"Bobby Jackson's shot went all the way to the roof before it went in," James said. "It wasn't meant for us to win when you've got guys making shots like that."
Cleveland eventually cut the lead to 111-106 on a 3-point play by Hughes with 19.2 seconds remaining, but Cleveland could get no closer.
"Part of it is the inexperience of us building and hanging onto a lead, and part of it is the newness of the system," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said.
The Grizzlies held a 56-55 halftime edge as Gasol worked inside. Not only was he scoring, hitting all six of his first-half shots, but he was also finding open teammates, finishing with five assists.
"Pau created a lot by catching the ball in the post and driving it at their guys, then kicking the ball out," Jones said. "[That] created a lot of opportunities for people. The shots were there.
"I don't think we're going to be a straight-up 3-point shooting team. If the shots are there, we'll take them," he said.
The teams stayed close through the early stages of the second half until a powerful dunk by James followed by a 3-pointer extended the Cleveland lead to 78-71. But a pair of free throws by Miller gave Memphis an 82-81 lead entering the fourth.
Memphis forward Shane Battier finished with 12 points and showed no ill effects from an inadvertent elbow to his head from the Magic's Kelvin Cato in Friday night's game at Orlando. The wound needed eight stitches, but Battier downplayed the situation. "It looked worse than it was," he said. ... Cleveland forward Donyell Marshall was put on the inactive list before the game because of a strained left calf muscle. He had 10 rebounds Friday night against San Antonio. ... Cavaliers guard Eric Snow entered the game with no points despite starting both previous contests. He hit a 13-footer with 6:26 left in the first period and finished with four points and five assists.
... Memphis center Lorenzen Wright had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. And with five assists in the first half, he was aware of the possibility of a triple-double. "I was thinking about
it. But I couldn't find nobody in the second half," he said.