The Memphis Grizzlies came into Thursdays game against the Indianapolis Pacers on an eight game losing streak. And chances for a win didnt look good with center Lorenzen Wright sitting out of the game with a sore knee.
Enter point guard Jason Williams.
Williams scored a game-high 33 points and handed out a game-high 11 assists to lead the Grizzlies to a 122-111 win. The points scored is the most by any Grizzlies team, and breaks a franchise-long 0-15 record against the Pacers.
The Grizzlies came out of the gate hot, scoring 37 points in the first quarter, 34 points in the second quarter for a total of 71 points for the half. All three numbers are season records for the squad. Also, the squad shot 60% from the field for the game, another franchise record.
We played the right way, Grizzlies head coach Sidney Lowe said after the game. We moved the ball around, and we picked our shots. The Lord was on our side tonight.
Also for the Grizzlies, forward Pau Gasol scored 23 points, pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds, and knocked down a game-high seven blocked shots. Guard Rodney Buford scored 20 points, forward Grant Long scored 13 points, forward Shane Battier scored 12 points, forward Stromile Swift scored 11 points, and guard Eddie Gill scored 10 points for the team.
Lowe says that Williams ball distribution keyed the offensive effort. I think the movement of the basketball was the difference, Lowe said. With him in we play the right way. I didnt know how much difference it was going to make [having Jason play], but I knew we would certainly play better.
Williams was characteristically nonchalant about his effort. I just feel good that we got a win, he said after the game. I was just taking what they would give me. Im glad to be back. Sometimes I was surprised that I shot the ball as well as I did, because I dont think Im a very good shooter.
For tonight, at least, Pacers head coach Isaiah Thomas disagreed. Jason Williams had a great game, Thomas said. He hit shots from all over the floor. Thomas summed his teams performance: We scored 111 points which was enough to win the basketball game, but we gave up 122. It was just a bad night for us.
For the Pacers, forward Jermaine ONeal scored 31 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, guard Jamaal Tinsley scored 28 points and passed out nine assists, forward Ron Artest scored 12 points, center Brad Miller scored 11 points, and guard Reggie Miller scored 10 points of his own.
The Grizzlies return to the Pyramid on Saturday, March 9 to play against the visiting Miami Heat, and then play in Memphis again against the Utah Jazz on Monday, March 11.