10:30 AM ET, October 23, 2009
Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
The Charlotte Bobcats have just as many concerns.
Long after Iverson left the court following a brief early morning workout Friday, the Grizzlies reserves held off the Bobcats 95-92 to close the exhibition schedule for both teams. Zach Randolph looked good early with 16 points and eight rebounds, Sam Young added 13 points and DeMarre Carroll hit the tiebreaking layup with 13 seconds left.
The Grizzlies (3-5) lost point guard Mike Conley when he re-injured his troublesome right ankle in the first quarter in the game, which began at 10:30 a.m. and was played in front of more than 16,000, high-spirited middle school students.
"I'm just glad nobody else got hurt and we got through training camp unscathed," coach Lionel Hollins said.
Iverson avoided the noise by staying in the locker room during the game. Iverson did work out before tipoff but said it's a "long shot" he'll be cleared for the Grizzlies' season opener Wednesday against Detroit.
Even so, Iverson was upbeat, saying he has "not one bit of pain" in his partially torn left hamstring and is confident he'll quickly learn the offense and his teammates' tendencies after missing all eight exhibition games.
"I feel 100 percent, but they've been telling me with this injury that's the way it is," Iverson said. "You feel well and then you go out there and try to take it to fifth gear and it can tear again. That's my whole dilemma right now."
The Bobcats (2-6), who have their own injury concerns, got 15 points from Raymond Felton and 14 from Boris Diaw. But Diaw, Charlotte's power forward, had just one rebound and Charlotte was beaten on the boards 48-37.
"Our 4 man doesn't rebound the ball at all tonight," coach Larry Brown said. "That's been an issue."
Conley lasted only 7 minutes, leaving Marcus Williams to get the bulk of time at point guard. Williams had two driving layups as Memphis built an 82-75 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Charlotte rallied to tie on Vladimir Radmanovic's 3-pointer with 36 seconds left.
Carroll's layup put Memphis back ahead, and Radmanovic didn't hit iron on a 3-point attempt at the other end.
Randolph, who was 2 for 12 from the field in Wednesday's loss to Miami, dominated inside early as Memphis built a 52-42 halftime lead.
Charlotte's Tyson Chandler looked better in his second game back from offseason ankle surgery, but still appeared far from being in game shape. He had eight points and six rebounds on 4-of-6 shooting, but struggled defensively and was often trailing the play.
"Health-wise I'm OK, but still the timing, getting my legs under me and getting back in rhythm, that's the difficult part," Chandler said. "But I'm going to be fine."
The Bobcats played their second straight game without shooting guard Raja Bell, who said before tipoff he would get the results later Friday of a second opinion on the partially torn ligament in his left wrist. Bell expects to decide soon whether to play through the injury or have surgery, which would sideline him up to four months.
Bell's absence would mean more playing time for rookie Gerald Henderson, who showed off his athleticism in scoring 10 points off the bench. He also had a spectacular leaping block of Young.
"I hate to even say it, but his movements remind me a lot of Kobe (Bryant)," Chandler said.
"I've got a long way to go to be Kobe," Henderson replied.
The Bobcats, though, did little in the preseason to shore up concerns in the frontcourt. The Grizzlies never got Iverson in the mix. Now the two teams with zero combined playoff victories have run out of time. The regular season starts Wednesday.
"Hopefully he's back sooner than what they say," Conley said of Iverson. "Hopefully he's ready to go and we'll be ready to go once he gets there."
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 23 D.J. Augustin #14 of the Charlotte Bobcats shoots against Hasheem Thabeet #34 of the...(Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
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