Swift paces high-scoring Memphis in a easy win over Sonics

MEMPHIS, Tenn. &

Stromile Swift proved he can be very effective when he's active on offense.

Swift scored a season-high 24 points, Mike Miller added 19 points and seven assists and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Seattle SuperSonics 125-108 on Monday night.

"I just tried to move without the ball," said Swift, who was 10-of-14 from the field. "They were focused on Pau (Gasol) mostly, and I was able to get open and get easy baskets. That helped me out a lot."

Damon Stoudamire had 16 points and seven assists, and Hakim Warrick added 16 for the Grizzlies, who stopped a three-game skid. Gasol had 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and seven blocks, one short of his career-high for rejections.

"Pau was good. Stro was really good. They ran the floor," Miller said. "(Warrick) did a good job of feeling spots. So when our big guys play like that, we're pretty good."

Delonte West led Seattle with 17 points, Chris Wilcox added 16, and Jeff Green had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

"We're not coming out as strong as we should," said Seattle rookie Kevin Durant, who had 11 points, but was 2-of-8 from the field with five turnovers. "We're digging ourselves a hole and deciding to play hard when we're already down double digits."

With Memphis center Darko Milicic out with a bad left thumb, Swift started at center, allowing Rudy Gay to play small forward. Part of the reason for the switch was to keep Gay, who has struggled with foul problems, from guarding Wilcox, Seattle's bulky forward.

"We just felt Stro's defensive presence on Wilcox was important," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "Wilcox really is a guy they can rely on for interior scoring. It turned out to be a good decision. (Swift) was active. He ran like he's capable of running."

Seattle was able to chip away at the lead, and even got it under 10 in the latter stages of the second quarter, despite foul trouble that sent big men Wilcox, Johan Petro and Nick Collison to the bench with three fouls each.

"It was because the guys they were guarding were pretty good," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "Once again, we were getting beat pretty good on penetration, so we were in a lot of help situations, and a lot of reach-in situations."


In addition to Milicic, the Grizzlies were without G Mike Conley, who sustained a right shoulder injury in Memphis' loss at Dallas on Saturday night. ...Seattle was without G Luke Ridnour, who missed his fourth game with a torn left quadricep, and C Robert Swift, who sat out his fifth straight game with a right knee contusion. ...Green, the Seattle rookie out of Georgetown, started his first game of the season. ... Seattle played eight of their first 12 away from home and are 0-4 at the Key Arena. ...Two of the Grizzlies' three wins this season have come against the Supersonics. Memphis defeated Seattle 105-98 on Nov. 7.

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