Hornets-Grizzlies Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 09, 2013
Even without their leading scorer and rebounder, the Memphis Grizzlies haven't missed a beat during their recent tear. The Grizzlies look to exact some revenge for an earlier loss to the New Orleans Hornets and win for the 12th time in 13 games overall on Saturday night. Since a defeat at Eastern Conference-leading Miami on Feb. 1, Memphis (41-19) has rebounded with three straight victories - including its first win in Cleveland in almost a decade on Friday. Marc Gasol had 22 points and Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless each added 17 in a 103-92 victory that snapped a seven-game road skid against the Cavaliers. The Grizzlies will likely have to extend their hot streak without Zach Randolph, who leads the team with 15.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. Randolph has missed the last three contests and is questionable for Saturday with an ankle injury he sustained against the Heat. "We've got a lot of options, even without Zach,'' Gasol said. "Everyone is playing well.'' Memphis certainly hasn't suffered on the boards with a plus-7.7 rebounding differential in its last three games. With Randolph in the lineup, Memphis held a 93-72 advantage on the glass in its two meetings with the Hornets. Gasol had 13 points and a team-high nine boards as the Grizzlies won 96-89 at New Orleans on Dec. 7 before the Hornets returned the favor with a 91-83 win at Memphis on Jan. 27. Ryan Anderson led the Hornets with 22 points on 7 of 13 from 3-point range in that victory. Anderson was one of three Hornets with 15 points in the first meeting. New Orleans (21-41) was without Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon in that contest. Gordon had 18 points on 7-of-23 shooting as Southwest-worst New Orleans blew a 25-point lead and lost for the seventh time in nine games, 108-102 to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. "We just couldn't execute, and once it started to roll that way it's hard to stop that momentum,'' coach Monty Williams said. Greivis Vasquez, who had 15 points and 12 assists against the Lakers, is averaging 19.0 and 9.7, respectively, in his last three games. Vasquez, however, has totaled nine points on 4-of-22 shooting against the Grizzlies this season. The Hornets have reached 100 points in six of their last eight overall, but will have a difficult time hitting that mark against a very good Memphis defense that has been even stingier lately. The Grizzlies, who rank near the top of the NBA in points allowed at 89.4, have given up just 84.6 during that eight-game stretch. Gasol looks to continue his scoring surge, averaging 20.4 points on 60.6 percent shooting in his last five games. The 7-foot-1 center also had 14 and 11, respectively, in the January loss to the Hornets. Conley has added a spark in the backcourt with 37 points and 17 assists in his last two. Even without Randolph, the Grizzlies have scored 100.7 per game - 7.1 above their season average - while shooting 49.6 from the floor in their last three. They'll try to keep it going against a New Orleans team that has allowed 106.8 points on 50.8 percent shooting in its past four games. Memphis won six of the previous seven meetings before its home loss to the Hornets in January.
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