Grizzlies-Hornets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 21, 2013
While the Memphis Grizzlies couldn't get on track offensively, their outstanding defense proved up to the challenge against one of the NBA's highest-scoring teams. The Grizzlies aren't likely to face as difficult of a task on Friday night when they visit the New Orleans Hornets, one of the lowest-scoring teams in the Western Conference. Memphis (46-21), however, will have to remain focused following a dramatic 90-89 overtime victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday. Marc Gasol tipped in Zach Randolph's miss with less than a second remaining to give the Grizzlies an emotional win over the defending conference champs. Mike Conley finished with a team-high 24 points, while Jerryd Bayless added 20 and hit a key 3-pointer with 3.7 seconds left to send the game to overtime. Gasol and Randolph combined for 29 points and 33 rebounds despite shooting 11 for 35. With Memphis making just 36.0 percent as a team, its defense keyed the victory. The Grizzlies held an Oklahoma City team that ranks near the top of the NBA in scoring (106.4) to just 83 points in regulation, 2 of 18 shooting from 3-point range and a season-low 35.7 percent from the field. "We win in a variety of ways. It's never pretty,'' said Conley. "That's that grit-and-grind motto right there. We just find a way to win however it is." Memphis, which leads the NBA at 89.2 points allowed per game, won for the 16th time in 19 games and kept pace in a three-team fight with Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers for third place in the West. Now the Grizzlies will try to snap a two-game road skid on Friday against the Hornets (23-46), who rank near the bottom of the West at 93.9 points per game Southwest Division-worst New Orleans is also coming off a last-second victory as Anthony Davis overcame a stomach ailment and tapped in the go-ahead bucket in an 87-86 win over Boston on Wednesday. "I was really tired, but I knew my team needed me, so I was trying to fight through it,'' said Davis, who had nine points and eight rebounds. "I'm glad I did. It was a big win for us.'' Ryan Anderson had 21 points and Eric Gordon added 18 to help the Hornets rally from a 13-point second-half deficit and snap a four-game losing streak. New Orleans, though, will have to find a way to knock down its open looks against the defensive-minded Grizzlies after averaging 85.3 points on 41.7 percent shooting in its last four games. Memphis looks to take three of four in the season series after winning 96-89 in New Orleans on Dec. 7 and 96-85 at home on March 9. The Hornets limited the Grizzlies to 36.4 percent shooting in a 91-83 win in Memphis on Jan. 27. Randolph totaled 35 points and 20 rebounds for Memphis in the first two games against New Orleans before missing the last contest because of a left ankle sprain. Anderson has been a key weapon for the Hornets, averaging 18.0 points and hitting 11 for 25 from 3-point range over the three meetings. Davis, meanwhile, had one of his best games against the Grizzlies earlier this month, totaling 20 points and 18 rebounds. Memphis has won seven of nine in this series overall and three of four in New Orleans.
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