Grizzlies 96, Hornets 89By Peter Finney Jr., The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Fri, Dec 7, 2012 10:40 PM EST
NEW ORLEANS - Rudy Gay tied his season high with 28 points, and Quincy Pondexter scored 16 and Zach Randolph added 15, including four in the final 3:21, to lift the Memphis Grizzlies to a 96-89 victory over the New Orleans Hornets Friday night at the New Orleans Arena. In winning for the sixth time in seven outings, the Grizzlies improved their NBA-best record to 14-3. The Hornets (5-13) closed within 86-85 on Jason Smith's put-back with 3:40 left, but Randolph hit a layup on a strong post move and Marc Gasol made a three-point play on another solid inside move for 91-85 lead with 3:01 left. That was part of a 10-2 run, which Randolph capped by tipping in a Mike Conley miss for a 96-87 lead with 40.6 sconds to go. Gay's strong drive into the paint on Xavier Henry for a three-point play gave Memphis a 67-54 lead, but the Hornets closed the third quarter on a 12-4 run to narrow the deficit to 71-66. Brian Roberts had five points in the surge, including a deep three-pointer from the top of the key with 1.7 seconds left in the quarter. Roberts followed that up by scoring the first four points of the fourth quarter, including a floater in the lane, to draw New Orleans within 71-70. Pondexter, who was traded to the Grizzlies from the Hornets last December for Greivis Vasquez, had a pair of three-pointers to keep Memphis in front, 82-77. The Grizzlies led just 31-29 with 5:45 left in the second quarter when they exploded for four consecutive three-pointers - two by Gay - to extend their lead to 43-33. Memphis hit five three-pointers in a 29-22 quarter and took a 51-39 advantage to the locker room. The Grizzlies mauled the Hornets on the boards (26-15) and shot 55.3 percent from the floor in the first half to build their lead. Playing the first of back-to-back games, Memphis got to rest Gasol (13 minutes) and Randolph (12 minutes) in the first half. Gay had 15 first-half points on 7-of-11 shooting. NOTES: Hornets coach Monty Williams benched small forward Al-Farouq Aminu and started Henry, apparently for defensive and hustle purposes. "We need guys to play hard, and when you play hard, you care," Williams said. "Anytime you're going through this process, you're always thinking of ways to tweak. When (guys are) working hard in practice and showing improvement, you want to give those guys a chance to play. A lot of guys are hungry sitting on the end of our bench. It's not like we have this stellar record that you want to stand pat on and keep a rotation going." ... Rookie forward Anthony Davis has missed the past 10 games with a stress reaction in his left ankle, but Williams said he's getting close to a return. "He's starting to ramp up his conditioning a little bit," Williams said. "We're not sure exactly when he's going to be back, but his conditioning as far as getting him in game shape or practice shape is getting better." ... Guard Tony Allen (strained groin) started for Memphis and had two steals in the first minute. ... Rookie guard Tony Wroten was not with the Grizzlies (D-League assignment).
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