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Memphis cruises as Hornets drop second straight

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Opponents are starting to respect the
Memphis Grizzlies' defense.

Pau Gasol scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds Tuesday night
as the Grizzlies beat the New Orleans Hornets 89-73 for their sixth
straight victory.

The Grizzlies, already leading the league in defense, have
allowed opponents an average of 76 points during their winning
streak, and have won all but one by double-digit margins.

Like other teams, New Orleans struggled from the field, shooting
39 percent -- a problem Hornets coach Byron Scott had warned his
team about before the game.

"I told them if you've got a good shot, take it because if you
drive inside or take one dribble that shot is gone," Scott said.

Gasol shot 7-of-13 from the field and also hit 15-of-19 free
throws, tying a personal mark for most made and matching a
franchise record for most attempts. He added three blocks.

"We tried to take New Orleans out of their trend," Gasol said.
"We stopped the point guards pretty well with our guards moving
their feet and the big guys committing on all the pick-and-rolls
they run. I think we did a good job keeping them off the lane and
not letting them play their offense the way they wanted to."

Reserve guard Bobby Jackson scored a season-high 21 points, and
Eddie Jones added 11 for Memphis, which held a 21-point lead in the
second half.

By the early stages of the fourth period, the Hornets' starters
left the game for good and watched from the bench as the reserves
finished New Orleans' second straight loss.

"That's our bread and butter," Jackson said of the defense.
"When I first got here in training camp, I was like 'Man, we're
working on a lot of defense,' and we weren't working enough on
offense.

"I see why we are working on defense because (coach Mike
Fratello) wanted us to be one of the best teams in the league, and
we're there."

P.J. Brown, leading scorer Chris Paul and reserve guard Speedy
Claxton missed a combined 22 of 26 shots.

"I think they did a good job of keeping me and Speedy out of
the lane, which is where we can be effective," Paul said. "They
did a good job of shutting that down."

Desmond Mason and David West led New Orleans with 15 points
apiece, while J.R. Smith and Kirk Snyder each scored 10.

Memphis, which struggled early from the field, eventually got on
track thanks to Jackson, building an 11-point lead in the second
period and taking a 50-39 lead at the break as Lorenzen Wright hit
an 10-footer at the horn.

Jackson, the winner of the NBA's 2002-03 Sixth Man Award and
runner-up the previous season, said creating instant offense is
just one of the keys to his game.

"I've always had to the same approach. I know I can go in there
and change the game offensively and defensively," Jackson said.

New Orleans chose not to double-team Gasol down low in the first
half, and the Memphis leading scorer had 17 points and eight
rebounds. Mason scored 13 to lead the Hornets in the first half,
and Smith added all 10 of his points.

"(Scott) felt like we should go one-on-one with me first,"
Brown said. "But at halftime, he didn't think the energy was
there, so he wanted us to pick up the tempo by doubling down on
him. It just seemed like when we did that someone else hurt us."

Brown was only 1-of-6 for two points. Meanwhile, Paul, who
entered the game with a 16.9 average to lead all rookies, missed
all three of his shots in the first half, and was held scoreless
until a layup with less than a minute left in the third period for
his only points of the game.

By that time, Memphis had built the lead to 21 and carried a
70-53 advantage into the final period.

Game notes
Memphis has defeated opponents by an average of 17.3 points
during the six-game winning streak. ... The Hornets' Chris Andersen
got into a bit of an exchange with a front-row fan, who suggested
the center cut his long blond hair. Andersen glared at the fan long
enough that the spectator said little more. ... Paul had scored in
double figures in 15 of the Hornets' first 16 games. ... The
six-game winning streak matches the longest undefeated run for
Memphis from last season.