MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Zaza Pachulia scored 22 points, Speedy Claxton added 19 points and 11 assists, and the Atlanta Hawks ruined Pau Gasol’s season debut by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 97-88 on Friday night.

Josh Smith finished with 16 points, hitting 7-of-9 from the field, and grabbed 10 rebounds for Atlanta.

The Hawks benefitted from the Grizzlies’ usual slow start to snap a four-game losing streak and win for the first time without leading scorer Joe Johnson, who is out with a right calf strain.

Memphis lost its fifth straight.

Gasol missed the season’s first 22 games with a broken left foot. He started and played 17 minutes, scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds. The 7-foot All-Star looked tentative in his first action, not crashing the boards and not taking a shot during his first two 4-minute stints.

Marvin Williams and Tyronn Lue each had 13 points for the Hawks.

Chucky Atkins led Memphis with 18 points, while Hakim Warrick scored 16. Alexander Johnson added 15, Rudy Gay had 13, and Mike Miller finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Atlanta put the game out of reach opening the fourth period on a 17-4 run, capped by Smith’s layup for an 84-66 lead, the Hawks’ largest of the game.

AP-ES-12-15-06 2241EST


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