The Memphis Grizzlies won their eighth straight game Saturday night in Charlotte over the Bobcats 94-87. It equals the longest winning streak in franchise history. The Grizzlies also won 8 games in a row in 2004 en route to a 50 win season, the best in franchise history. Memphis improved to 8-1 on the season, the best record in the league. The Bobcats had won 3 games in a row, but fell to 4-4 with the loss. Still, they are only 3 wins shy of their win total from all of last season.
The Grizzlies had a late start to their nationally televised win against the New York Knicks last night. The game didn’t end until almost midnight Central time, and the Grizzlies didn’t arrive in Charlotte until 4:00 am Eastern time.
Any fatigue didn’t show up in the first quarter though. The Bobcats took an early 10-7 lead, but the Grizzlies then went on a 12-0 run to take a 19-10 lead. They would end the quarter up 25-19. The Grizzlies would expand their lead to 47-31 with just over a minute left in the second, but the Bobcats closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to make it 47-38 at the half.
One of the trademarks of the winning streak for Memphis has been strong starts to third quarters. This game was no exception. Memphis opened the quarter on an 8-0 run to make it 77-60, but give credit to the gritty Bobcats, who didn’t quit. Bobcats Guard Kemba Walker scored 11 straight points to make it 77-71 with just under 7 minutes to go in the quarter. Memphis would end up taking a 75-60 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter. The Bobcats cut the lead to 5 three times in the fourth quarter but could never get closer. The Grizzlies held on for the hard-fought 94-87 win.
The Grizzlies shot 38.8% from the field including 2/14 from 3 point range. Memphis made 30 of 34 free throws. The Grizzlies had 44 rebounds, 17 assists, 10 steals, 7 blocks, and 14 turnovers. Memphis had 18 fast break points and 44 points in the paint.
All five Grizzlies’ starters scored in double digits. Guard Mike Conley, Jr. had 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 assists. Forward Zach Randolph had 18 points, 12 rebounds, and a block. Forward Rudy Gay had 16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and a block. Center Marc Gasol scored 12 points along with 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 blocks. Guard Tony Allen had 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and an assist. Forward Marreese Speights had 9 points and 6 rebounds off the bench.
The Bobcats shot 37.6% from the field including 4/13 from 3 point range. Charlotte made 19 of 28 free throws. The Bobcats had 46 rebounds, 17 assists, 7 steals, 5 blocks and 18 turnovers. Charlotte had 24 fast break points and 42 points in the paint.
Forward Byron Mullens had 18 points, 9 rebounds, an assist and a steal. Walker had 17 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and a block. Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 12 points, along with 8 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. Guard Ramon Sessions added 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. Ben Gordon had 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He returned to the Charlotte lineup after missing the last two games for personal reasons.
These teams were pretty much even if you look at the stats. They shot about the same percentage and had almost the same amount of rebounds. The main difference was Charlotte missed their free throws and Memphis made theirs. Still the Grizzlies were luck to escape with a win over an up-and-coming team on the road.
Next up for Memphis is a home game against the Denver Nuggets Monday night. It is the first game in a five game homestand for the Grizzlies and the last game before the Thanksgiving holiday.