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Hot-shooting Grizzlies overcome Jamison, Wizards

Nov 25, 2007 - 6:40 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler have stepped up for the Washington Wizards in the absence of superstar Gilbert Arenas. But lately, it has not translated into wins.

Rookie Juan Carlos Navarro scored 28 points and Rudy Gay added 27 and eight rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies secured just their second win in their last seven contests with a 124-118 victory over the shorthanded Wizards on Saturday night.

Pau Gasol collected 21 points and nine rebounds for the Grizzlies, who shot 53 percent (41-of-78) from the field, including 13-of-29 from the arc.

Memphis coach Mark Iavaroni credited Navarro for much of the team's offensive success.

"He played his tail off tonight, shot the ball, when he shoots like that, and he gets it going its fun to see," the coach said of Navarro. "That was one of the games he wanted to play well, there's no question. And when he does, those are fun games."

Arenas, who learned last week that he will be out three months thanks to knee surgery, leaves a huge void in the Wizards' offensive arsenal. However, Washington owns one of the highest scoring trios in the NBA - leaving Jamison and Butler to carry the load.

Butler notched a triple-double in Friday's 123-115 loss to the Golden State Warriors and collected 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists in this one.

But he didn't want to talk about his offense after the game.

"We were just trying to do a good job protecting the paint," Butler said. "When you are playing good shooting teams, it is a little bit difficult. As professionals, they are going to knock down shots."

But it was Jamison who stole the show for the Wizards in another losing effort.

The high-scoring forward netted a season-high 41 points on 18-of-22 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Wizards, who have lost two straight since a six-game winning streak. They are 3-2 since Arenas went down.

But while the Wizards did not slip offensively, their defensive effort left much to be desired.

"Offensively, we did an OK job," Jamison said. "Defensively, we were trying to stop ball penetration. I don't want to say that guys were not trusting each other, but we were kind of getting caught in between stopping our man and then trying to get back out."

The Grizzlies, who snapped a two-game losing streak, had five players score in double figures, including Kyle Lowry who netted 17 points on 13-of-14 shooting from the line.

Washington coach Eddie Jordan praised the whole Memphis team.

"Lowry is very impressive," Jordan said. "Navarro is pretty impressive. He is pretty uncanny. We always knew that Gay and (Mike) Miller could make threes."

Antonio Daniels had 10 points and 11 assists for Washington.

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