Wednesday , Mar , 17 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Grizzlies beat Sixers; Iverson starts

Memphis, TN (Sports Network) – Pau Gasol recorded a double-double with 22
points and 10 rebounds to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to an 82-79 win over
Philadelphia at The Pyramid.

Bo Outlaw added a season-high 15 points off the bench as the Grizzlies ensured
their first winning season in franchise history. Memphis, now at 42-25,
bounced back from an 88-80 loss at Houston to take its eighth win in nine
tries.

Aaron McKie led the way with 22 points for the Sixers, losers of back-to-back
contests after winning four straight. Kenny Thomas had a solid effort with 20
points and 12 boards while Allen Iverson returned to the starting lineup, but
was held to just 10 points in the loss after a scoreless second half.

Iverson, who had missed three games with a sore right knee, did not play the
last time out for Philadelphia after head coach Chris Ford planned on using
his star guard off the bench, something that did not go over too well with
Iverson, a career starter. Iverson instead changed back into his street
clothes, refusing to come off the bench.

The Sixers held a 66-57 advantage heading into the fourth, but Memphis used a
14-4 burst to erase the deficit and get back in front by a point, 71-70, just
past the midway point of the final period.

The Grizzlies found themselves trailing again after four straight points by
Eric Snow staked Philly to a 77-75 edge with 2:41 remaining. After a Gasol
free throw cut the difference back to one, Thomas made a crucial layup with
1:31 to play, making it a 79-76 game.

Iverson missed a chance to put the Sixers up by five when he missed a runner
with a minute left.

Gasol then made 1-of-2 free throws at the other end, leaving the Grizzlies
down 79-77 nine ticks later.

Snow turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, and once again Gasol was
sent to the line with a chance to tie it, but he hit only one of his two foul
shots with 27 seconds to play.

The Grizzlies finally went ahead after Kyle Korver lost the handle as Outlaw
tried to foul him, and James Posey ran up court for a layup that made it 80-79
with only 15 seconds left.

“He [Outlaw] didn’t just foul him one time,” Iverson said. “He fouled him
three or four times. He was just smacking his arms.”

“It’s hard to believe that our team fought really hard and played well
throughout the game, then to lose on a play like that is really tough,” Ford
said. “It’s very hard to take a loss like this.”

Korver had a chance for redemption, but his three-point attempt rimmed out,
leaving Philadelphia no choice but to foul. Posey made good on both tries from
the charity stripe with seven seconds to go, and the Sixers called for time in
hopes of tying the game on a three.

The ball went to a cold-shooting Iverson, but his catch-and-shoot three from
the baseline went off the back of the rim, finishing out a dreadful second
half in which he missed all seven of his shots.

Philadelphia had three players in double figures at the half as the 76ers led
45-34 at the break. Thomas led all scorers with 13, one more than McKie.
Outlaw paced the Grizzlies with 11 points, while Gasol had 10.

The most action in the third quarter came when Bonzi Wells was ejected for
throwing the ball in the crowd with 4:59 left. Memphis outscored the 76ers by
a 23-21 margin in the stanza to get within 66-57 after 36 minutes of action.

PHI MEM