WASHINGTON (AP)—Coach Eddie Jordan acted as if his team had lost after the Wizards polished off the undermanned Memphis Grizzlies.
Washington rebounded from its worst defeat in more than six years to beat Memphis 104-93 on Friday night, and still Jordan wasn’t satisfied. The Wizards raced to a 30-9 lead after one quarter, and then played sloppily for much of the game.
“Just a poor performance, but we won,” Jordan said. “We got the lead— and we just didn’t manage the game properly.”
The Wizards made 20 turnovers, and their lead, which was 22 late in the first half, shriveled to six, 86-80 with 9:51 to play.
Jamison had 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Butler had 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
“We had a very good first quarter, but the first quarter doesn’t win a game for you,” Jamison said.
Butler, who converted three free throws without a miss to extend his streak to 60 consecutive—longest in the NBA since Kobe Bryant made 62 straight in 2005-2006, also wasn’t terribly impressed with his team’s performance.
“I wouldn’t say (we) let up, but sometimes when you get big leads, you get comfortable a little bit and guys veer off instead of staying with the offense,” Butler said.
Washington lost to Cleveland 121-85 on Wednesday, and they quickly erased memories of that debacle by holding Memphis to nine points through 12 minutes— the fewest points the Wizards have ever allowed in a first quarter.
“(We) started off the game very well, couldn’t complain about the things we did,” Jordan said.
The Grizzlies missed 10 of their first 12 shots, and without second-leading scorer Pau Gasol, out with a sore back, trailed 18-4 after nine minutes. They were seemingly out of the game.
“It was one of the poorest halves we’ve played,” Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. “It’s not good enough to play two-thirds of a half and expect to win in this league.”
Besides playing without Gasol, the Grizzlies lost starting point guard Mike Conley, who left with a contusion in his right chest and rib cage early in the third quarter. Led by Lowry, who subbed for him, Memphis made it somewhat respectable.
“We got our game going finally, but it was too late,” Iavaroni said.
All five Washington starters scored in double figures. Brendan Haywood scored 15 points—13 in the first half. DeShawn Stevenson had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. Antonio Daniels added 12 points.
The Grizzlies were also playing for the first time since they suffered their worst defeat of the season on Wednesday, 112-85 to Orlando. They followed it with their worst quarter of the season.
“It seemed like the rim had a lid on it. Guys got great shots and missed open shots,” Lowry said. “It just seemed like shots didn’t want to go in for us.”
Memphis also played without F Stromile Swift, who was out with a sore ankle. … G Damon Stoudamire missed his 13th straight game as he awaited a buyout of his contract. “I want it done as soon as possible,” Stoudamire said. “But, you’ve got to be patient. You’ve got to wait.” … Grizzlies G Juan Carlos Navarro, who was drafted by Washington in the 2002 draft but never played with the Wizards, played for the first time in Washington against them. He scored 14 points. He was traded to Memphis before this season for a future draft pick. … In the first game between the teams this season, on Nov. 24, a Memphis win, Washington allowed a season-high 124 points.