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Grizzlies run winning streak to eight

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Memphis Grizzlies have now won eight in a row, and that's not the only good news.

Now, they head back to Memphis for a five-game homestand.

The Grizzlies matched a franchise record for consecutive victories on Saturday night by turning back the Charlotte Bobcats 94-87 at Time Warner Cable Arena.

They led by 16 in the first half and 17 in the second half, then turned back a late Charlotte rally that got as close as five in the final minute.

Considering the Grizzlies didn't arrive in Charlotte until 4 a.m. Saturday after beating New York at home on Friday night, it was a solid performance and a character-builder, according to coach Lionel Hollins.

"We were on fumes coming down the stretch," Hollins said. "We had a tough game last night; we had a tough week. But to get in here at 4 o'clock in the morning and then have to battle a young pesky team that is improving, it's a testament to our mental toughness. We got on top, got a double-digit lead until the end, and then we made just enough plays to get the win."

The win moved Memphis to 8-1 -- the best record in the NBA -- and matched the franchise record of eight straight wins established by the 2004 team. The Grizzlies' lone loss this season came on opening night on the road to the LA Clippers.

Saturday's win also completed a phenomenal week in which the Grizzlies beat defending NBA champion Miami, Oklahoma City on the road, the Knicks and a Charlotte team that had won three straight coming into the night.

"It's definitely been a good week," forward Rudy Gay said. "We found out a lot about ourselves this week, as far as different competition and switching up the way we played each night. It's definitely a tough adjustment to play after you've gotten in at 4 o'clock in the morning, but that's what makes good teams. Whatever is thrown at them, they handle it."

"It was a tough game for us all, getting in so late last night," guard Mike Conley said. "We had to muster up some energy and get the W. I think these last two games really have distinguished what kind of personality this team has, how we treat the game and how we respect the game. A lot of teams, a situation like this would have been tough on, and I think we handled it as best we could."

Conley led the Grizzlies with 20 points. Zach Randolph had his 10th straight double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds, Gay scored 16 before fouling out, and Marc Gasol and Tony Allen scored 12 each.

The Grizzlies didn't shoot particularly well from the field (38.8 percent) but held the Bobcats to 37.6 percent shooting and forced 18 Charlotte turnovers.

Byron Mullens led Charlotte, which fell to 4-4, with 18 points and nine rebounds but was 7 of 21 from the field. Kemba Walker scored 17, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Ramon Sessions had 12 each, and Ben Gordon scored 10.

"They are young and they were rested and they came after us, and they kept coming after us," Gay said. "They played really scrappy. If they keep that team together, they're going to be tough to deal with."

The Bobcats were pleased with their effort, especially in coming back after trailing by 17 late in the third quarter.

"We had a lot of turnovers," Mullens said. "I think we had 18 and they had 25 points off of them, so that's the game, really. It was a close game and we've got to give them credit. They're a great team and their record shows it. They've got all the tools. We'll take this loss with our heads up. This is nothing to hang our heads about."

NOTES: The Bobcats were starting a three-game homestand on Saturday night, part of a stretch where they will play five of six games at home. They will play Milwaukee at home on Monday night. The Grizzlies will host Denver on Monday night. ... Charlotte played without Gerald Henderson, who missed his sixth straight game with a sprained left foot. ... Hakim Warrick suited up for the first time as a Bobcat after being acquired from New Orleans on Tuesday in a trade for Matt Carroll. He had five points and four rebounds in nine minutes. ... The Bobcats also got Gordon back, after he missed the previous two games due to a family matter. ... Walker was the Bobcats' leading scorer coming in at 19.0 points per game. He had 22 and hit the winning shot with 0.7 of a second remaining on Wednesday night at Minnesota. ... The Bobcats had defeated Dallas, Washington and Minnesota in their winning streak. ... Gay led the Grizzlies in scoring coming into the game at 20.3, which was good for 11th in the NBA. ... Randolph was leading the NBA in rebounding coming into the game at 14.1 and was also averaging 17.1 points.
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