Grizzlies 96, Hornets 85

Ron Higgins, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There were plenty of things to like about the Memphis Grizzlies' 96-85 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night in FedExForum.
There was superb ball movement and unselfishness, with the Grizzlies scoring 38 baskets on 21 assists.
This, of course, led to extremely balanced scoring, with seven players in double figures, starting with point guard Mike Conley's 22 points and ending with power forward Ed Davis' near double-double of 12 points and nine rebounds.
There was the Grizzlies' focus as they improved to 42-19 heading into an upcoming four-game, five-day West Coast road trip. They took an 18-point lead into the fourth quarter and didn't have many mental lapses the rest of the way.
And all of this again was done without starting power forward Zach Randolph (sprained ankle) and backup power forward Darrell Arthur (neck and back soreness). They missed their fourth and third games, respectively, because of those injuries.
The Hornets (21-42), which beat the Grizzlies 91-83 in their last trip to Memphis, were led by rookie center Anthony Davis, who had 20 points and 18 rebounds.
The Grizzlies jumped on the Hornets early, taking a 25-19 lead at the end of the first quarter. Snappy ball movement resulted in 50 percent shooting from the field (10 of 20) in the first quarter, and balanced scoring.
Quincy Pondexter came off the Griz bench in the final three minutes of the first quarter and scored five points, but the Hornets' bench clearly outplayed the Griz bench in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
New Orleans went on a 14-4 run to take a 33-29 lead after the first 5 1/2 minutes, with the Grizzlies missing 11 of their first 14 shots from the field in the quarter. But once the Grizzlies got four of their starters back on the floor, they turned a four-point deficit into a 47-41 lead at halftime, closing on a 12-2 run.
Every time the Hornets seemed to make headway early in the third quarter, they got sloppy with the ball, and the Grizzlies took advantage. By the end of the quarter, the Griz had built an 18-point lead, with 31 baskets on 17 assists. The passing was superb, punctuated by Conley's lob to Jerryd Bayless for a dunk with 31.5 seconds left in the quarter.
NOTES: The Grizzlies, a winner at Cleveland on Friday night, is 7-5 on the second night of back-to-backs this season. The Hornets last played on Wednesday, losing at home 108-102 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said he never believes a team should be tired after a back-to-back, especially these days when all NBA teams have private charters. Hollins remembers playing for the 76ers back in the early 1980s and being involved in a six-game, eight-day road trip that had two back-to-back-to-back sets split by two days off. "You get to that sixth game and half your team would already have gone back home hurt," Hollins said. ... Memphis' No. 1 defensive priority against the Hornets was not letting reserve forward Ryan Anderson go wild. The last time the Griz and the Hornets played, New Orleans walked away a 91-83 winner in FedExForum on Jan. 27, with Anderson scoring 22 points on 7-of-12 3-pointers. Anderson, who is still in a reserve role, is averaging 16.6 points and 6.4 rebounds and is shooting 39.5 percent on 3-pointers. His 174 made 3's rank second in the NBA.

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