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Hornets 90, Grizzlies 83

The SportsXchange

NEW ORLEANS -- Robin Lopez scored 23 points, including a critical rebound follow with 1:11 left, and rookie Anthony Davis had 18 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 90-83 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night at the New Orleans Arena.

The Hornets (24-46) nearly blew a 16-point fourth-quarter lead but held on for the win. Leading 76-60 with 9:18 left, the Hornets allowed the Grizzlies to go on a 21-7 run to cut the deficit to 83-81 with 2:37 remaining.

But Greivis Vasquez, who had 12 points and nine assists, canned a 3-pointer from the left wing, and Lopez came out of a scrum under the basket to hit a follow-up shot with 71 seconds left to put the Hornets back up, 88-81.

Davis recorded his 16th double-double of the season. The Grizzlies were paced by Mike Conley with 20 points and Marc Gasol with 16.

It was the Hornets' second consecutive home win against a team in strong playoff position, having defeated Boston 87-86 on Wednesday. The Grizzlies (46-22) had won 16 of their previous 19 games.

Lopez, who had struggled offensively in his previous two games, exploded for 10 consecutive points in the third quarter to help the Hornets extend their lead to 67-58 after three quarters.

When New Orleans outscored the Grizzlies 9-2 to open the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies trailed 76-60 with 8:56 left. Ryan Anderson's 3-pointer from the left wing and Brian Roberts' two driving layups keyed the surge.

Memphis scored eight of the next 10 points, including a spinning layup by Gasol around Davis, to cut the deficit to 78-68 with 6:43 left.

The Hornets got off to a sluggish start with seven turnovers in the first quarter, but they outscored the Grizzlies 34-22 in the second period, including the final eight points of the stanza to take a 48-43 lead at intermission.

The Hornets made 12 of 20 shots in the quarter, and they pounded the Grizzlies on the boards, holding a 22-12 halftime edge.

After making the game-winning tip-in against Boston on Wednesday, Davis picked up where he left off, scoring 15 points and grabbing five rebounds in the first half. He was particularly effective on several some short- and mid-range jumpers, an emerging part of his game.

Eric Gordon added nine first-half points for New Orleans, including a pair of hard drives down the right side of the lane in the final three minutes. The Hornets outscored the Grizzlies 24-18 in the paint.

Memphis got 12 first-half points from Gasol, while Zach Randolph and Jerryd Bayless added eight each.

NOTES: Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur, who missed the last nine games with soreness in his neck and back, returned to action against the Hornets. "You have an extra big person, and you have someone who can shoot the ball from the outside," said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. Arthur is averaging 6.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. ... Hollins said Davis, the NBA's No. 1 overall pick, impressed him with his growing awareness. "I think he's played extremely well for a rookie," Hollins said. "If he hadn't had the injuries, I think he would be right in the running for rookie of the year." ... Hornets coach Monty Williams said he believes shooting guard Gordon, who missed the first half of the season while rehabbing a right knee injury, is beginning to play with more consistency. "It's tough for him to be consistent when he has restrictions coming back from injuries," Williams said. "At the same time, we expect him to be consistent. What we'd like to get from him is a complete game at a high level. When he does that, we have a great chance to win." ... Williams said he'll give the 6-10, 220-pound Davis about "two weeks" off to rest in the offseason before he makes his pencil-thin forward hit the weight room. "He's certainly going to have to get stronger. This summer he's going to live in the weight room and he's going to have to shoot a lot of shots. He's got to get a better understanding of the NBA game. ... Once he gets stronger, he could set a (rebounding) record. He gets beat up so much it's unreal. But he stays in there. He doesn't have strength. He doesn't have experience. So right now he just has to use his length and his quickness."
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