MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 10 (Ticker) --
Before embarking on a difficult
road trip, the Memphis Grizzlies moved a step closer to the
had 25 points and 11 rebounds as the Grizzlies
closed in on their second straight playoff berth with a 102-95
victory over the pesky Charlotte Bobcats.
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The Grizzlies (44-32) have won three in a row and five of six to
move 4½ games ahead of Minnesota with six games to play.
Memphis has a magic number of one to punch its postseason
"I've never in sports assumed that anything is over until
mathematically it's over," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello
"We'll take one more, and we're going to do our best to get it,"
Battier said. "Not a lot of people are expecting much of us on
this road trip, so we're going to go play loose, try to steal
one and stamp our tickets for the dance."
Battier helped the Grizzlies hold off the expansion Bobcats
(15-61) down the stretch. He scored inside with 1:49 left to give Memphis a 97-91 lead, then made
two free throws 21 seconds later to again rebuild the lead to
"That's a pretty (darn) good basketball team, talking about
Memphis," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff
said. "They just
had guys make plays. Battier made plays."
added 21 points for the Grizzlies, whose road trip
features four Western Conference teams heading to the
postseason. They visit Dallas, Houston, Denver and San Antonio.
"It's going to be a tough road trip, but our focus still is just
to go get one more game," Miller said. "The bottom line is our
job is to put ourselves in position to make the playoffs. Right
now we're in the position, we've just got to take care of
"Obviously we have a little less pressure (on us) because we
know we've got six games to go and we only have to get one to
make it," said Grizzlies forward Pau Gasol
, who added 16 points.
"But I think we have to approach it in a different way. We have
to compete real hard (against Dallas) and get the win as soon
as we can."
Rookie Emeka Okafor
had 19 points and 18 rebounds and Brevin Knight
a season-high 22 and 10 assists for the Bobcats, who lost
their eighth straight game.
"We gave it a shot; they're just better," Bickerstaff said. "It
started in the last two minutes of the first half when we
capitulated to screens and allowed Miller some open threes."
Miller drilled three 3-pointers in a 16-6 surge over the last
5:17 of the first half, giving the Grizzlies a 52-46 lead.
"Our goal is to win as many games as possible," said Bobcats
center Primoz Brezec
. "We are going to show up every night. We
have six games left and we are going to try to win every one of
, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds, made a pair
of baskets in a 9-3 surge to close the third quarter, giving
Memphis a 78-68 lead.
The Bobcats got as close as four points twice in the fourth
quarter, the last time at 97-93 with 1:40 left on two free
throws by Knight.