Grizzlies 85, Hawks 84

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ATLANTA (AP)—The Memphis Grizzlies knew that they were due to win a close game.

Pau Gasol’s tip-in at the final buzzer lifted the Grizzlies to an 85-84 victory over the winless Hawks on Saturday night.

Shane Battier scored a season-high 22 points, but his biggest play may have been his ability to get just enough of his hand on a missed 3-pointer by Mike Miller to push the ball to Gasol for the game-winning tip.

“Something like that was bound to happen for us, because we’ve had it go the other way,” Battier said.

“I think I got one finger on the ball and tried to push it toward the rim and it went to Pau.”

Officials reviewed the play to confirm there was still time on the clock when Gasol tipped in Miller’s miss.

The loss was the most heart-breaking of a winless six-game start for the Hawks.

“We know how the Hawks feel right now because it just happened to us in Boston the other night,” said Memphis coach Mike Fratello.

The Grizzlies lost in Boston, 99-98, Wednesday night on a last-second shot by the Celtics’ Ricky Davis. The road trip continued with an 89-70 loss at Cleveland Friday night.

“This could have gone either way,” said Gasol, who scored 20 points. “For us it would have been an extremely tough loss and a really bad ending to the road trip.”

Gasol said the final play went as scripted, including his positioning for a possible offensive rebound.

“I saw the shot clock winding down and I knew I didn’t have any time to shoot it comfortably,” Gasol said. “It was an incredible game and an incredible finish.”

Bobby Jackson added 17 for Memphis.

The Grizzlies (4-3) led by two points with less than 2 minutes remaining when Al Harrington drew an offensive foul on Gasol. Joe Johnson’s 3-pointer gave the Hawks their first lead of the half, 82-81.

After Battier answered with a baseline drive past Zaza Pachulia, Harrington hit a jumper to regain the lead for Atlanta (0-6).

The Grizzlies inbounded the ball with 21 seconds left, but Miller and Jackson missed jumpers. Pachulia missed two free throws with 11 seconds left, giving Memphis another opportunity.

“It was my fault,” Pachulia said.

The Grizzlies passed the ball around the perimeter before Miller launched his miss.

Johnson led the Hawks with 17 points, Josh Smith added 14 and rookie Marvin Williams had 12.

“If we play like we did tonight, we’ll win a lot of games,” Smith said. “We have to believe as a unit we can win.”

The Hawks, who visit defending champion San Antonio on Tuesday night, are one loss from matching the worst start in franchise history set in the 2000-01 season.

Memphis won with improved free-throw shooting, after making less than 60 percent from the line in each of its last three games. The Grizzlies were ranked 29th for the season at 62.1 percent, but they made 20 of 26 (76.9 percent) against the Hawks.

Battier, coming off a season-low four points in Friday night’s loss at Cleveland, had 13 in the first half as the Grizzlies built a 43-30 lead at the break.

Jackson, making his first start of the season, scored the Grizzlies’ first 13 points of the second half, including three 3-pointers.

The Hawks made only one of their first 12 shots of the second half and trailed 56-44 at the end of Jackson’s run.

Starters Josh Childress, Harrington and Pachulia combined to make only 3 of 19 shots through three quarters. Coach Mike Woodson turned to rookies Williams, Salim Stoudamire, and former starter Smith for most of the final period.

Williams had six points in the first 5 minutes of the period, including a


Memphis guard Damon Stoudamire was held out with a sprained left ankle. He turned his ankle during Memphis’ loss at Cleveland on Friday night and had more soreness than expected Saturday. Jackson started for Stoudamire. … Through three quarters, Hawks starters were 11 of 43 from the field and the backups were 11 of 21. For the game, the backups matched the starters’ 42 points.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
S. Battier S. Battier
9-16,  22 Pts
8 Rebs, 5 Assists
J. Johnson J. Johnson
7-21,  17 Pts
6 Rebs, 12 Assists

Team Stat Leaders