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Gasol scores 26 in first half as Grizz beat Bucks

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Pau Gasol has no problems switching roles
from a scorer to a playmaker.

Gasol scored 26 of his 33 points in the first half to help the
Grizzlies beat the Milwaukee Bucks 100-90 on Friday night.

He didn't become frustrated when the Bucks collapsed on him
defensively in the third and fourth quarters, simply finding his
teammates for open looks.

Gasol attempted only three shots in the second half -- after
making 11-of-12 in the first half -- but had five of his eight
assists in the second half as the Grizzlies swept their three-game
homestand and moved closer to the franchise's third-straight
playoff berth.

"In the second half they had to do something," Gasol said.
"They started coming at me and I had to start passing the ball.

"If they want to play me straight-up, I'm going to try to hurt
them because I know I'm hard to stop when I'm one-on-one."

Gasol added 14 rebounds and three of the Grizzlies' season-high
15 blocks. Point guard Chucky Atkins had two key 3-pointers in the
fourth quarter and scored 12 of his 16 points in the period.
Atkins' second-half production offset Gasol's inability to get
shots off against the defense played by Andrew Bogut, Joe Smith and
Jamaal Magliore.

Gasol was held to one point in the third quarter and didn't take
a shot until nearly 21 minutes had elapsed in the second half.

"I think our big guys really took the challenge," Bucks coach
Terry Stotts said. "Andrew, Joe and Jamaal really took the
individual challenge of guarding him."

It was the sixth straight road loss for the Bucks, who were led
by Michael Redd's 25 points. Milwaukee has not won on the road
since defeating Portland, 100-93, March 20.

The Grizzlies shot 59.5 percent in the opening half and 52.8
percent for the game.

"They just shot the ball so well in the first half," Stotts
said. "We did such a poor job on the shots Gasol was making. He
was getting dunks and they shot 60 percent in the first half.

"In the second half, defensively, we were pretty good. We were
under 40 percent (shooting) all night, but with 3 minutes to go,
we're still in the game."

The Bucks, who battled from 20 down to nearly win at Orlando on
Wednesday, put together another strong run to rally from a 13-point
halftime deficit. Milwaukee slowly chipped away at the Memphis lead
and tied the game at 81 with six minutes left on a jumper by Redd.

The Grizzlies aided the Bucks' comeback by missing their first
seven shots to open the fourth quarter.

But Memphis recovered behind Atkins and Gasol. Atkins dropped in
a 3-pointer with 5:31 left for an 84-81 lead. Two minutes later he
drilled another 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring for an 87-83
advantage.

A strong drive and layup by Gasol, followed a minute later by a
baseline jumper by the 7-foot Spainard, gave the Grizzlies a 91-85
lead with 1:46 to go. A Redd 3-pointer with 1:24 left cut the lead
to 92-88, before Atkins dropped in a 15-footer. Free throws by
Gasol, Mike Miller and Atkins in the final minute preserved the
win.

Tied at 22 at the end of the first quarter, the Grizzlies pulled
away midway through the second quarter with a 14-2 run for a 49-37
lead. Gasol had six points during the run, Miller had a 3-pointer
and Lorenzen Wright a three-point play.

The Bucks helped the Grizzlies during the stretch by going
1-for-8 from the field. Gasol, averaging 20 points during his
career against the Bucks, had 26 in the first half on a variety of
attempts: dunks, mid-range jumpers from both baselines, running
hook shots and layups. He hit 11-of-12 shots in the first half.

The second-half run allowed the Grizzlies to overcome a
difficult shooting half from 3-point range. Memphis went 2-of-11
from beyond the arc.

A 3-pointer by Shane Battier to end the half gave the Grizzlies
their biggest lead at 58-45.

Game notes
Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello won his franchise-record 84th
game with the team. He's 84-58. ... Bucks forward Bobby Simmons
left the game early in the third quarter because of a sprained left
ankle. He did not return. ... The Grizzlies' backups were held
under 35 points for the first time in four games. Memphis' reserves
scored 25 points.