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Gasol leads Grizzlies to 3-0 start

Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Marc Gasol converted a go-ahead three- point play in the final minute of regulation to give the Memphis Grizzlies an ugly 71-69 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday.

While the final score was somewhat of an eyesore, the Grizzlies nevertheless improved to 3-0 for the first time in franchise history.

Gasol was one of the few consistent sources of offense and finished with a game-high 22 points to go with eight rebounds.

Zach Randolph added 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who held Kemba Walker to five points on 1-of-11 shooting. Walker had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds but missed a 16-footer.

Al Jefferson totaled 19 points for the Hornets, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist logged a double-double with 11 points and 12 boards.

Whether it was good defense or bad offense, points were bard to come by. Both teams shot 36 percent from the floor and combined for 39 turnovers -- 20 coming from Charlotte.

"It was tough for us to score buckets tonight," Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger said. "We missed a lot of shots."

The Hornets, who were coming off a season-opening overtime win over the Bucks, trailed most of the way, but it was no more than a one-possession contest over the final eight minutes.

Charlotte went ahead 69-68 when Kidd-Gilchrist split a pair at the free throw line with 1:08 remaining, and Gasol and Mike Conley executed a perfect pick- and-roll to put Memphis back in front for good.

Gasol caught Conley's bounce pass in stride and put in a layup while being fouled, and the free throw gave the Grizzlies a 71-69 lead.

"We had a blown coverage on Gasol's role to the basket," Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said of the pivotal play. "We worked on that (Saturday) morning."

Even though Jefferson was whistled for a traveling violation with 40.7 seconds left, the Hornets were given another chance when Randolph's shot rimmed out.

Clifford drew up a final play for Walker, who used a screen at the top of the key, but was denied the lane by Gasol. Walker settled for an off-balanced jumper from the right side that barely glanced the rim.

The Hornets led 8-5 early before missing 11 of their next 12 shots.

Randolph's eight-point, seven-rebound effort carried Memphis to a 23-15 lead after the first quarter, but the Grizzlies had their own struggles in the second and limped into halftime with their lead cut to 36-30.

Both offenses were stagnant in the third, which ended with the visitors holding a slim 51-46 advantage.

Game Notes

The Hornets not only brought back the team's name this season, but they also re-hung the No. 13 jersey of Bobby Phills at halftime. Charlotte retired Phills' number on February 9, 2000, one month after he was killed in an automobile accident ... Charlotte's Gary Neal scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter ... Charlotte will play six of its next eight games on the road, starting with Sunday's matchup against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden ... Memphis hosts the former Hornets, the New Orleans Pelicans, on Monday.