Despite a dismal season, the New Orleans Hornets are doing their best to finish on a positive note.
The visiting Hornets look to extend their season-high winning streak to five games when they try to beat the Memphis Grizzlies for the second time in four days Wednesday night.
Trying to avoid a last-place finish in the Western Conference, New Orleans (19-42) is giving up an average of 80.8 points during its win streak.
“We have good momentum and we have to keep playing the way we’re playing, with the same intensity and the same way defensively and keep winning,” guard Greivis Vasquez told the Hornets’ official website. “We have to finish the season strong and build towards the future, which I think looks bright for us.”
Vasquez had 20 points and six assists as the Hornets overcame a 33.8 percent shooting effort to hold lowly Charlotte to its second-lowest scoring night of the season in Monday’s 75-67 road win.
Despite the victory, coach Monty Williams still expects a more complete effort from his club even this late in a disappointing season.
“Guys have to play with confidence,” Williams said. “We don’t want guys thinking about missing shots, especially when you don’t have to look over your shoulder. It’s not like I’m going to put somebody else in the game to take your spot.”
New Orleans seemed to play with plenty of confidence during an 88-75 home win over Memphis (36-25) on Sunday. Eric Gordon had 18 points and Carl Landry added 16 with 11 rebounds as the Hornets held the Grizzlies to 35.7 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers that resulted in 28 points.
“We’re going to remember this one,” veteran guard Tony Allen told the Grizzlies’ official website. “They were more physical. They were the aggressors. They forced us into those turnovers. They played how we normally play.”
Memphis had its four-game winning streak over New Orleans snapped, and the Grizzlies have won the last two matchups at home. Rudy Gay scored 24 points Sunday and had 28 with nine rebounds as Memphis bounced back with a 91-84 win at Minnesota on Tuesday.
Gay has averaged 25.8 points on 49.0 percent shooting in the last five games.
The Grizzlies’ 11th win in 15 contests moved them to within two games of the Los Angeles Clippers for fourth place in the West and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
“They’re competitors. They’re trying to get somewhere,” said coach Lionel Hollins, whose team is on the verge of making the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since three straight appearances from 2004-06.
Memphis was pleased to have All-Star Marc Gasol back on the court against the Timberwolves after he missed most of the fourth quarter at New Orleans with a bruised knee.
It’s uncertain if Gordon will be in the Hornets lineup after he was rested Monday. Sidelined most of the season with a knee injury, Gordon has averaged 20.1 points in the seven games he has played in 2011-12.
New Orleans center Chris Kaman has been shut down for the remainder of the season because of a bruised left tibia. He averaged 13.1 points and 7.7 rebounds in 47 games.