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Lionel Hollins named Western Conference Coach of the Month

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Memphis, April 27, 2012 – As the Memphis Grizzlies prepare to host a playoff series for the first time in franchise history, the NBA today announced head coach Lionel Hollins as the Western Conference Coach of the Month for the month of April, his second career honor (December 2009).

Coach Hollins guided the Grizzlies to a 13-3 record in April, winning their final six regular season games and 11 of the final 13 to capture home-court advantage in their first-round series with the Los Angeles Clippers.  Though the fourth-seeded Grizzlies played 16 games in 25 days during the month, they were still able to equal the club record for wins in a single month (March 2004).

The Grizzlies defeated Miami and Dallas, both 2011 NBA Finals teams, on consecutive nights (April 6-7), never trailing for a second of either game.  Memphis, which matched a team record by forcing the Heat into 11 turnovers in the first quarter alone, became the first team to defeat both defending conference champions on back-to-back nights since the 2003-04 Indiana Pacers.  The Grizzlies also earned a road win on April 2 at Oklahoma City and a home victory on April 9 over the Clippers.

Memphis won all nine home games in April as part of a franchise-record tying 11-game home winning streak dating back to March 18 vs. Washington and finished the season tied for the third-best home record in the NBA (26-7) behind only San Antonio and Miami.

The Grizzlies’ success is linked to an aggressive defense, which under Coach Hollins led the NBA in steals (9.6) and forced turnovers (17.1) for the second season in a row, becoming the first team to pace the league in both categories in consecutive seasons since the 1995-96 and 1996-97 Seattle SuperSonics.

Memphis finished the 2011-12 season as the most successful team in franchise history by overall winning percentage (41-25, .621) and home winning percentage (.788), surpassing the 2003-04 squad coached by Hubie Brown, which finished with a .610 overall winning percentage (.756 at home).  The winningest coach in Grizzlies history, Coach Hollins matches Brown and Mike Fratello with his second Coach of the Month Award.

Coming off six consecutive home sell-outs in last season’s playoffs, Coach Hollins and the Grizzlies will host the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their first-round series at 8:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, April 29 at FedExForum. 

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