By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks enjoyed a rare blowout that left the Memphis Grizzlies fuming about their failure to answer the challenge.
Dennis Schroder scored 22 points and Atlanta beat turnover-plagued Memphis 108-82 on Tuesday night, giving the struggling Grizzlies their fourth straight loss.
The Hawks’ biggest lead was 34 points, and Schroder enjoyed the rare opportunity to sit out the final period and watch the final minutes of a runaway victory.
“Of course that’s great to win like that,” Schroder said. “I think it’s tough to win in the NBA but when you’ve got wins like this it’s even sweeter.”
Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff was unhappy with his team from the start. He called his first timeout about one minute into the game.
“That was a very immature effort on our part,” Bickerstaff said, adding that his players were not prepared for the Hawks’ “speed, their athleticism, their commitment to what they’re trying to do.”
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol’s assessment was even more biting: “We got hit and we lay down.”
Added Gasol: “You’ve got to care more about the team’s success than your own success. … Worry about ‘me first,’ that’s not going to cut it.”
Mario Chalmers had 13 points for Memphis, which has lost six of seven. Dillon Brooks had 12 points.
Only a late scoring surge allowed Memphis to top its scoring low in an 87-78 loss at Denver on Jan. 12.
The Grizzlies’ season-high 27 turnovers led to 38 points for Atlanta.
“There’s something about us against Western Conference teams at home,” said Hawks rookie John Collins, who had 15 points, 10 rebounds and one of the team’s 13 steals. “We came out with the intensity, forced them to turn the ball over, and we executed on the other end.”
Memphis made only 4 of 22 3-pointers.
The Grizzlies and Hawks held out players who could be dealt before Thursday’s trade deadline.
Tyreke Evans was not with the Grizzlies and missed his fourth straight game.
Hawks 3-point specialist Marco Belinelli was held out as the team discussed a possible trade.
“That’s part of the business,” Schroder said. “The NBA, you never know what’s going to happen. Marco, I’ve become good friends with him this season. … He’s our brother, no matter what happens.”
There were three ties in the first period before the Hawks pulled away with an 8-0 run that included a jumper and two free throws from Schroder.
Atlanta stretched the advantage to 51-35 at halftime and to 32 points, at 75-43, in the third quarter.
Grizzlies: Memphis ended a winless four-game trip and fell to 5-20 away from home. … The Grizzlies’ previous high of 22 turnovers came in a 96-94 home win over Hawks on Dec. 15. … The teams were a combined 0 for 12 on 3-pointers before Chalmers finally sank a 3 with 8 minutes remaining in the second period. … Ivan Rabb had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Hawks: Atlanta has won seven straight home games against Western Conference teams. … Dewayne Dedmon had 11 points and Tyler Dorsey had 10 off Atlanta’s bench, which scored 56 points.
SIT AND WAIT FOR EVANS
Bickerstaff said his staff has been in contact with Evans.
“It’s a difficult situation for him, obviously wanting to play,” Bickerstaff said before the game. “He didn’t ask to be moved so he wanted to be a part of this group. So it is a difficult situation for him. … We just hope it works out in the end.”
RACE TO THE BOTTOM
Each team is contending for the worst record in its conference. The Hawks began the night percentage points behind Orlando at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The Grizzlies were only two games away from last place in the West.
Grizzlies: Host Utah on Wednesday.
Hawks: At Orlando on Tuesday.