for this game

Gasol helps Grizzlies overcome McGrady's 41-point night

Nov 14, 2007 - 5:24 AM By Shawn Pachucki PA Sportsticker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Pau Gasol redeemed himself for disappearing in the second halves of the Memphis Grizzlies' past two games.

Gasol scored 26 points and made some clutch free throws down the stretch to help the Grizzlies overcome a great night by Tracy McGrady and defeat the Houston Rockets, 105-99, on Tuesday.

Darko Milicic added 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting and six rebounds for Memphis, which avoid a three-game skid by shooting 50 percent (35-of-70) from the field and winning the rebounding battle, 44-36.

McGrady scored 41 points for the Rockets (6-2), who have surrendered 100-plus points just twice this season, resulting in their only two losses.

With the game tied at 97-97, Memphis went 8-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes to take control of the game. Gasol made four of them en route to going 14-of-16 from the line for the contest.

"The key was to stay aggressive," said Gasol, who netted 14-of-17 free throws and notched his 64th consecutive double-digit scoring effort. "They made a run back at us, but we kept going at them hard and were able to hit the shots we needed to win."

Gasol, who averaged just one shot and no points in the closing halves of a pair of road losses Friday and Saturday, collected 11 points from the line over the third and fourth quarters - including six in the final 3:37 of the third that gave Memphis an 80-79 advantage heading to last quarter.

The Grizzlies opened the fourth with an 11-4 run, capped by a putback dunk by forward Stromile Swift over Rockets center Yao Ming, to go up by eight with under eight minutes to play.

"I thought the guys re-asserted themselves when it looked like we might dribble this one away," said Grizzlies coach Mark Iavaroni, who earned his first home victory. "We got good shots, we went inside and we came up with some big finishing stops at the end."

McGrady helped Houston get back into the game, scoring seven points on a 12-3 run, which tied the contest at 97-97 with 2:19. The Rockets, however, put the Grizzlies on the free-throw line eight times and failed to hit a field goal the rest of the way.

"I just don't think we played well enough at the other end," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "Defensively in the second half, they got it going, and we missed a lot of shots that seemed like they were there for us. This is just a game where we didn't play well enough."

"We had some problems clicking offensively as a unit tonight," said McGrady, who topped the 40-point mark for the second time this season. "When we're not there defensively, we have to figure out how to answer with more shots. Tonight, we didn't seem to have it on either end in the second half. We got to fix that."

McGrady took little time to heat up, hitting for 15 of his team's 28 points in the opening quarter as the Rockets led by three at the end of the first period.

He doubled the scoring output of his fellow starters in the first half with 22 points, compared to 10 from the others. His reverse lay-up with 1:16 to go in the third gave Houston a five-point lead that they could not hang on to.

The other half of Houston's All-Star tandem, Yao, finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. The only other Rocket to score in double figures was forward Chuck Hayes with 10 points.

"We tried to make it tough on guys tonight," said Milicic, who was the Grizzlies' best scoring option early on netting 11 points in the opening period. "We looked like a team tonight. We played really tough on defense and really smart on offense."

A thunderous dunk by second-year forward Rudy Gay over Luis Scola and Dikembe Mutombo ignited the Memphis crowd late in the second quarter. Then, a 3-pointer by guard Juan Carlos Navarro gave the Grizzlies their first lead since the opening possession of the game.

McGrady, however, responded - tying the game at 42-42 with a reverse dunk.

Memphis connected on just 1-of-11 shots from the arc and turned the ball over 17 times, but outscored Houston, 52-38, in the paint.

After lighting up the first half, the Rockets missed 25-of-42 attempts from the field in the second to finish at 47 percent (39-of-83) on the night, and just 4-of-19 from the arc.

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