Crawford leads Hawks to 108-94 win over Grizzlies
“We knew they were really good here and we’d have our hands full,” Crawford said. “We wanted to play strong defense and good offense. And that’s what we did and because of it we were able to get easy baskets.”
Crawford scored 14 points in the final period, and was 5 of 7 from 3-point range in the game.
“When you’re hitting 3-pointers like we did that can change a game a little bit,” Crawford said. “But it wasn’t just me. It was all my teammates finding me and coaching running some great plays. I had the easy part, just knocking the shots down.”
All-Star Zach Randolph(notes) had 20 points and 14 rebounds for Memphis, which enters the All-Star break on a four-game losing steak. Rudy Gay(notes) had 18 for the Grizzlies and O.J. Mayo(notes) finished with 16.
The Grizzlies, who rank sixth in the NBA in scoring, fizzled in the third quarter. Leading by two at the half, Memphis shot 37.5 percent in the quarter and fell behind by seven entering the final period.
“That was huge for our team,” Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. “We have to defend them like that. It was like an old-school shootout (in the first half). I let your score, you let me score. In the second half, I felt like our defense stepped up to do what they needed to do.”
Crawford, averaging 17.6 points per game coming off the bench, opened the fourth with a 3-pointer to give Atlanta an 85-75 lead and start a 20-7 run.
“We tried playing zone in the fourth quarter and they destroyed the zone as well,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “Jamal Crawford got going and made a lot of shots.”
The Hawks eventually built a 22-point lead in the quarter.
Although the Grizzlies fell behind by five in the opening minutes, they recovered to lead 30-27 at the end of the first quarter.
Memphis increased its lead to 49-42 late in the second quarter before allowing the Hawks to go on an 11-4 run and tie the game at 53-all with 36.1 seconds left.
Memphis shot 76.5 percent in the first quarter and 59 percent in the first half. Thirty of the Grizzlies’ first-half 55 points came in the paint.
“I think what hurt us is we just played 24 minutes,” Mayo said. “Against a good team playing a high level like the Hawks, it takes the whole team playing 48 minutes.”
NOTES: Randolph gave away 500 tickets to the game. They were distributed Tuesday morning and the supply was exhausted in 20 minutes … Grizzlies second-year forward Darrell Arthur(notes) was activated before the game and played for the first time after missing four months following surgery on a partially torn right pectoralis muscle. … Atlanta shot 55.4 percent to boost its record to 16-1 when shooting 50 percent or better.