CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 14 (Ticker) --
The Memphis Grizzlies are
looking more and more like a playoff contender while the
Charlotte Bobcats looked every bit the expansion team.
led a balanced attack with 19 points and the Grizzlies
climbed back over .500 with a 109-89 victory over the Bobcats.
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"We made a lot of jump shots, and that's going to make it easier
for Pau," Grizzlies guard Jason Williams
said. "They didn't
double him, which surprised us, but that just makes our job
easier when they don't double him."
Memphis never trailed and led by as many as 20 points in running
its record to 12-5 under new coach Mike Fratello. The
Grizzlies (19-18) moved over .500 for the second time under
"I'm getting a better idea of who we have on this team and what
they're capable of doing," Fratello said. "This was a good team
a year ago. They just had to get healthy first and get back to
feeling like we can win some games again. Once that happens, I
feel like we can be a pretty decent team."
On the flip side, the Bobcats lost for the ninth time in their
last 10 games.
"It was a sad commentary for a basketball game on our part,"
Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "We did not play the
way we wanted to, and the reason is perplexing to me."
"We came out and respected them," Memphis forward Shane Battier
said. "They have beaten a lot of teams because the teams didn't
respect them. We didn't want that to happen to us."
The Grizzlies shot 58 percent (23-of-40) from the field in the
first half and were paced by 13 points from Battier as they
built a 58-44 lead.
"We're at our best when we get easy baskets," Battier said.
"We've got some pretty good open court players and so when we
can go and make layups, it really gives us confidence."
Charlotte scored the first bucket of the second quarter to pull
within 26-25 before Battier scored four points in an 8-0 run
that gave Memphis control for good.
"We turned it on in the defensive end," Battier added. "They
scored 23 points in the first quarter and we knew that if we
wanted to open things up, we had to stop them, get one shot and
get out on the break. We were able to do that and create some
Memphis took advantage of strong bench play and sloppy
ballhandling by Charlotte. The Grizzlies got 49 points from
their bench, sparked by James Posey
with 17 and Earl Watson
with 10 apiece. The Grizzlies also converted 18
Bobcats turnovers into 23 points.
"We have focused on defense a little more," said Gasol. "Our
rotation is better. I feel the biggest key was learning the new
system under coach Fratello."
"We had a real good performance off the bench with (Swift)
and Posey," Fratello said. "They really showed for us tonight."
scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and
scored 15 points for Charlotte. Knight had 11 assists.
"I don't know what was wrong," Charlotte's Gerald Wallace
"We play good one night and then take the next night off. We're
not good enough to play that way."