Grizzlies 97, Hornets 92

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—James Posey carried the Memphis Grizzlies despite an ailing leg.

Posey, averaging 23 points the last six games, scored 24 and led Memphis to a 97-92 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night.

He could only walk through the team’s shootaround earlier in the day because of a right quadriceps contusion and was listed as questionable for the game. But he connected on nine of 15 shots as the Grizzlies snapped a two-game skid and finished February with a 10-3 record, the best month in franchise history.

Posey was injured in the second half of a 106-104 loss at Milwaukee on Friday night.

“I was going to give it a chance,” said Posey, who spent his time on the sidelines riding a stationary bike. “I wasn’t going to take myself out. I was going to leave that up to Coach (Hubie Brown) to tell me I couldn’t play. I was going to give what I was able. I got a lot of flexibility back, and the swelling went down a lot.”

As good as Posey was for Memphis, New Orleans guard Baron Davis brought the Hornets almost all the way back from 18 points down in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points during an 18-3 run. New Orleans cut the lead to three on several occasions, the last time on Steve Smith’s 3-pointer with 28 seconds left.

But Pau Gasol and Bonzi Wells hit a pair of free throws each to prevent the Hornets from completing the comeback.

“The other big factor in the game, outside of Posey, was we cut it to three, and four straight trips we fouled on the other end,” New Orleans coach Tim Floyd said.

Gasol scored 18 for Memphis, while Jason Williams had 15 points and eight assists. Wells finished with 14.

Brown said he figured New Orleans would mount a comeback even when his Grizzlies were up by 18. The Memphis coach talked about the Hornets’ well-rounded game, rebounding and physical play to complement their scoring.

“This was a typical game for us,” Brown said, “where we build a lead, and you think you might be able to go to the men’s and ladies’ room. But you can’t. You have to hang in there because (when) you get back, God only knows where the hell the game will be.”

Davis, who scored 16 in the final period, led the Hornets with 24 points and 10 assists. Jamal Mashburn added 21 points and nine rebounds, while Jamaal Magloire and P. J. Brown had 14 and 12 points, respectively. Each had 10 rebounds, giving the Hornets three players with double-doubles.

“We just ran out of time,” Davis said.

The Hornets shot 50 percent in the first quarter, but hit only one of their first 14 shots in the second, allowing the Grizzlies to build a 44-34 lead en route to a 49-45 halftime advantage.

Gasol, who has struggled since breaking his nose three games ago, had 10 in the first half with more aggressive play inside.

Mashburn led the Hornets with 14 points in the half.

Memphis continued to shoot well in the third, extending its lead to 73-58 entering the fourth period.

“We have to take this as a difficult loss against a very good team, and a team that has been very good at home,” said Floyd, whose team had won twostraight. “A win would have been far greater than a loss would be damaging.”

Notes

New Orleans F-C Robert Traylor did not make the trip for personal reasons. … Before the game, the Grizzlies activated F Theron Smith and placed G Dahntay Jones on the injured list. Smith did not play. … The NBA referees’ protest against the three-assignment suspension of colleague Michael Henderson ended. All three officials—Jim Clark, Scott Foster and Anthony Jordan—had their shirts on right side out and their proper numbers displayed. … Stacey Augmon started only his 10th game this season and hit his first four shots. He missed his next four to finish with eight points. … Hornets F David West washeld scoreless, but had 10 rebounds, one short of his career high.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 New Orleans
B. Davis B. Davis
11-26,  24 Pts
6 Rebs, 10 Assists
 Memphis
P. Gasol P. Gasol
7-15,  18 Pts
9 Rebs, 2 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists