Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Grizzlies 96, Clippers 76

by Associated Press, from Foxsports.com
The Memphis Grizzlies dominated the Los Angeles Clippers from start to finish.
Memphis benefited from poor early shooting by Los Angeles, controlled the Clippers' top scorers - Corey Maggette and Elton Brand - and built an early lead before coasting to a 96-76 victory on Monday night.

"That was the way to do it," said Pau Gasol, who led the Grizzlies with 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds. "We have to do that more often at home."

Gasol, who had 18 points in the first half, shot 9-of-13 from the field, and reserve Bonzi Wells added 18 points for Memphis, which snapped a two-game losing streak.

Maggette led the Clippers with 14 points, but shot just 3-of-15 from the field. Chris Wilcox had 12 points, while Bobby Simmons finished with 11.

Memphis led by as many as 23 in the fourth period and sent the Clippers to their seventh loss in eight games. Along with Maggette's problems, Elton Brand was held to eight points on 1-of-7 shooting.

"You don't have to say much more about the way we played - just look at the stat sheet," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We were 4-of-22 and we got nine turnovers from our top two. Anybody who does that is going to have a real tough time winning a ballgame."

The game was part of a back-to-back set for the Clippers, who lost Sunday at Houston and are dealing with injuries.

"We just really need to come together as a team, without the coaches, and decide what we want to do," Maggette said. "Are we going to (give up) or are we going to try? It's not one single thing. There's a lot of things we need to work on.

"When you are winning, you don't see it. But when you've losing, you see a lot of stuff."

The Clippers, who never led, struggled from the floor early. They made only five of their 18 first-quarter shots and turned the ball over seven times in falling behind 29-12.

Meanwhile, Gasol barely missed - connecting on seven of eight shots in the first half and leading the Grizzlies to a 51-40 halftime lead.

"We've been getting a 15- to 16-point lead, then letting teams chip away and chip away and make a game out of it," Wells said of the Grizzlies' early season struggles. "We have to learn to play a full 48 minutes together, and when we've got a team down, stomp on the back of their necks and keep them down."

Memphis led by as many as 19 in the first half and maintained a 15- to 19-point advantage through much of the second period. The Clippers scored the last eight points of the half to cut Memphis' lead to 11.

The Grizzlies increased the lead to 20 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Jason Williams and Mike Miller midway through the third and carried a 75-55 lead into the final period.

The defensive effort was a major factor in the team's first playoff appearance last season.

"We've been playing better team defense, and that is what made us very successful," Gasol said. "We were successful and won so many games last year because of our defense and stopping teams on runs. We're going to try and work on our defense a little more and be a little stronger." previous low was 14 against Memphis on Dec. 19. ... The Grizzlies are 4-0 vs. Los Angeles teams this season. ... Kirk Penney, signed by the Clippers earlier this week, scored his first points of the season on a 15-foot jumper in the fourth. ... Memphis F Shane Battier was instrumental in holding Brand, his former roommate at Duke, to 10 points under his 18.7 scoring average. "Hopefully I got him back for waking me up all those times in the middle of the night," Battier said.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Burks Out With Fractured Right Pinkie Finger

from NBA.com
The Memphis Grizzlies announced today that point guard Antonio Burks will miss the next 6 - 8 weeks due to a fractured right pinkie finger sustained in the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Burks will undergo surgery on the finger tomorrow at the Campbell Clinic.

Burks started the season on the injured list but was activated on December 7 and played five games, averaging 4.6 ppg and 2.4 apg in 13.0 minutes per game. Last night against Cleveland, he had a career-high seven points on perfect 3-3 shooting from the field, along with three assists and only one turnover. He had a career-high six assists in his NBA debut on Dec. 7 vs. New York.