Streaking Grizzlies Outlast Bobcats
Memphis 96, Charlotte 88
CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 12 (Ticker) -- Eddie Jones and the Memphis Grizzlies obviously don't care who they end up facing in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Jones buried a key jumper and added a big block on back-to-back possessions in the final minute to lift the Grizzlies to a 96-88 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
"I pay attention everyday and try to see where we are," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "But my approach is that you go out and try to do your job everyday. You're supposed to win games. Anything less than that would be not what I expect of a professional in the NBA. You go out and try to win and where you end up is where you end up. You just have to go from there."
The Clippers won in Portland, 97-93, late Wednesday night.
"If you try to mess with the basketball gods, they punish you in the end," Memphis forward Shane Battier said. "All the talk of massaging and losing games, that's not in our minds right now. We're trying to win every single game each time we step on the court. Wherever we are at the end of the year, hopefully we'll have some momentum and play well in the playoffs."
With the Grizzlies nursing a one-point lead, Jones hit a jumper from the left wing as the shot clock expired for a 93-88 advantage with 41 seconds to play.
"I was watching the clock and knew we only had four seconds to get the ball to the rim," Jones said. "You keep the clock running in your head anyway. I saw Pau (Gasol) with it and thought he was going to shoot it. All of a sudden he kicked it over to me and I had to catch it out of the air in one motion and get it to the rim. I just wanted it to hit the rim so we didn't have a violation, but it went in."
Jones then blocked Matt Carroll's 3-point attempt on the Bobcats' ensuing possession.
"It was a big shot by Eddie," Fratello said. "We became more aggressive in the second half taking the ball to the basket. As a result, we got to the free throw line and made enough of them to hang on and get the win."
Jones finished with 16 for Memphis, which has won five of its last six games.
"When things aren't going great for us we sucked it up and continued to push forward," Jones said. "That's what it's all about in this league. If things aren't going great for you on the floor, continue to be confident in yourself and keep forcing the issue. If we want to be a successful team on a night-to-night basis we have to drive to the basket, make plays for each other and make defensive stops."
Memphis protected the ball well against Charlotte, committing just nine turnovers. The Bobcats lead the league in forced turnovers at almost 18 per game.
"You can't be sloppy against this team," Fratello said. "You have to really concentrate on your execution and take away their great athleticism. We tried to do a little better job of protecting the basketball tonight."
Gerald Wallace scored 17 points and rookie Raymond Felton added 14 with 13 assists for the Bobcats (22-56), who lost for the seventh time in 10 games. Charlotte was without co-captain Brevin Knight, who did not dress tonight due to a right groin strain.
"I thought our guys played hard and played terrific," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "They did everything they could do to win this basketball game. It's very difficult where there's a lot of stoppages, turnovers, fouls to get momentum and sustain it. Both teams were playing well, pretty good basketball plays were being made."