Published March 08, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of playoff hopefuls will tangle Saturday evening on Beale Street, where the Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Bobcats meet at FedExForum.
The Grizzlies are one game off a playoff spot in the talented Western Conference and Charlotte currently sits seventh in the East standings, two games ahead of Atlanta and two games behind Brooklyn.
Memphis is back home for consecutive games versus Charlotte and Portland, and has won five straight at FedExForum, where it has an 18-14 record this season. The Grizzlies posted an impressive 85-77 win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night thanks to double-doubles by Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
Gasol had 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Randolph followed with 10 points and 11 boards. Mike Miller (14), Kosta Koufos (12) and Mike Conley (12) rounded out the double-figure scorers for the Grizzlies, winners in three of four and eight of 11 games.
A big second half propelled the Grizzlies, who had a 50-38 advantage over the last 24 minutes of action. They held the surging Bulls to 41.3 percent shooting and defended the perimeter well, giving up only 2-of-13 3-pointers.
"We played good basketball, we played good defense," Randolph said. "We got stops when we needed stops. Marc had a great game. It was a team win."
The Grizzlies hope their success continues on the defensive end and they are allowing just 94.9 ppg this season. It makes up for their offensive struggles, as they are scoring 95.5 ppg.
Charlotte has won two in a row since a three-game slide and improved to 6-3 in the last nine games with Friday's 101-92 victory versus Cleveland.
Al Jefferson continued his torrid scoring pace with 28 points on 12-of-18 shooting and Kemba Walker ended with 20 points and 14 assists. Chris Douglas- Roberts had 14 points for the Bobcats, who shot 46.8 percent and recorded their sixth straight win at home.
"Once again when it got down to the end of the game, we got stops," said Jefferson. "At the end of the day, it wasn't the best win but it was a win."
Jefferson has scored 20 or more points in 22 of his last 25 games, averaging 26.5 ppg in that span.
The Bobcats will try to stop a three-game road losing streak Saturday and have a 12-19 ledger away from home. Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson (calf) has missed three straight games and is questionable Saturday. He is averaging 14.6 points this season.
Charlotte defeated Memphis 92-89 on Feb. 22 behind Walker's 31 points. The Grizzlies, though, have won three of four against the Bobcats and six of the eight encounters in Memphis.