Grizzlies show unselfish side in beating Hornets

Ron Higgins, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There were plenty of things for the Memphis Grizzlies to like abou their 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 the Western Conference's fourth-place team 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 vs. the Hornets 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.
"Because we haven't had some of these guys on our team for very long (after recent trades), we're still figuring each other out," said Grizzlies' reserve swingman Quincy Pondexter, who had 13 points. "But we are loving how we playing with each other. We're moving the ball. We are doing all the little things. We are coming together."
The Grizzlies, in winning their seventh straight home game, won for the 12th time in the last 13 games. After coming back from a 25-point deficit to beat Dallas and a 17-point hole to knock off Portland in the Grizzlies' last two home games, the fact that Memphis led most of the way except for a brief dip in the second quarter was a welcome relief.
"We started the game playing pretty good defensively, the way we're supposed to play every game," said Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots. "We had a better mindset for a better start. We talked about it."
The Hornets (21-42), who 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. He didn't have much help, though the Hornets battled back from a 47-41 halftime deficit to a 47-47 tie with 10:21 left in the third quarter.
That's when the Grizzlies went on a 16-3 run behind Ed Davis, the Grizzlies' third-team power forward elevated to the starting lineup because of the Randolph and Arthur injuries, scoring six points in the spurt.
"We had a lot of easy shots in the first half around the basket that we couldn't finish," Hornets' coach Monty Williams said, "and we just collapsed in the third quarter. We didn't make any adjustments at halftime. But once we tied it up, it's like we relaxed."
And the Grizzlies kicked it in gear, outscoring the Hornets 31-19 in the period and outshooting the visitors from the field 55 percent to 27.3 percent.
For the sixth straight game, the Grizzlies won the third quarter. Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said it hasn't been by accident.
"We're a second half team, because we figure out what they are trying to do and how they are trying to do it," Hollins said. "We go in (at halftime), talk about it and watch him. We come out and execute. There's nothing magical to it.
"Most of the time, it's the second and third quarters when we make adjustments and we start attacking."
NOTES: Hollins recorded his 200th win as an NBA coach. ... Davis had a career-high 18 rebounds. "Stats mean nothing, we didn't get the win," Davis said. .Memphis has won seven straight home games, the second longest streak in franchise history. ... Hornets' guard Greivis Vasquez finished with a team-high eight assists, and he has led or tied for the lead in assists every game this season. ... The Grizzlies embark on a four-game, five-day road trip Tuesday starting in Portland. They are 17-11 in the road this season, two shy of the franchise season record for road wins (19 in 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06). ... The Grizzlies, a winner at Cleveland on Friday night, are now 8-5 on the second night of back-to-backs this season. 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 Grizzlies 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 had 17 points Saturday but was limited to 1-of-5 3-pointers.

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