Hornets 90, Grizzlies 83

When big men Robin Lopez and Anthony Davis play well on the same

night, the New Orleans Hornets are transformed from one of the

worst teams in the Western Conference into a threat to anyone in

the league.

Lopez had 23 points, including a key putback and a pair of free

throws in the final 1:11, and the Hornets beat the

playoff-contending Memphis Grizzlies 90-83 on Friday.

Lopez also had 10 rebounds and Davis added 18 points and 15

boards for New Orleans, which has won two in a row against teams in

playoff contention, the first coming against Boston on Wednesday

night.

”Our big guys did a good job playing with a great amount of

intensity and they were the difference in the game,” said guard

Greivis Vasquez, who had 12 points and nine assists. ”When you

have a guy like Robin Lopez, the way he played tonight, it’s huge.

If he does that consistently, I think we can be a different team

for sure.”

Mike Conley scored 20 points while nearly leading the Grizzlies

back from a 16-point fourth-quarter hole. His consecutive 3s had

Memphis as close as 83-81 with 2:36 left, but Vasquez answered with

a big 3 on a kick-out from Eric Gordon and Lopez’s putback made it

88-81.

Gordon, who scored 11 points, had only two assists, but Vasquez

said Gordon deserved credit for the pass that set up his

momentum-changing 3 with 1:50 left.

”He got me a wide-open shot,” Vasquez said. ”He could have

easily scored or got a foul and he just kicked the ball out to me

and I was ready to hit that shot.”

Marc Gasol had 16 points for the Grizzlies, while Zach Randolph

added 14 and Jerryd Bayless 12.

”We were just not playing defensively and the game got away,”

Gasol said. ”They did a great job of rebounding and we did not

help on the drive and did not contest shots. They just had an open

lane for rebounds.”

Lopez and Davis helped the Hornets outrebound Memphis 49-33.

Lopez had six offensive boards, a key factor in the Hornets’ 22-12

advantage in second-chance points.

”Everybody was being aggressive,” Lopez said. ”I got some

cleanup baskets. Anthony was attacking and they had to box him out.

They left me wide open.”

Hornets coach Monty Williams conceded that he left Lopez in the

game longer planned – nearly 30 minutes – because Ryan Anderson was

in foul trouble. The way Lopez, in his fifth season, and Davis, a

rookie, played together this time left Williams bullish about how

the pair might blossom in upcoming seasons.

”At some point, we are going to have a big tandem in this city

that is going to be one of the best in the league,” Williams

said.

The Hornets also wound up outshooting Memphis 47.4 percent (36

of 76) to 41.1 percent (30 of 73).

”It was a disappointing loss. They really took it to us on the

glass,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ”Both Davis and Lopez

worked hard all night. You just have to tip your hat to them.”

Coming off an impressive overtime victory against Oklahoma City,

Memphis dominated early, forcing seven early turnovers and going up

by 11 when Conley’s free throws made it 21-10. That turned out to

be the largest lead of the game for the Grizzlies.

New Orleans pulled into a 27-all tie on Gordon’s 3 in the middle

of the second quarter. After that, Memphis managed to maintain a

slim lead for much of the second period until Al-Farouq Aminu’s

inside basket sparked an 8-0 run to close the half, capped by

Gordon’s last-second floater that gave New Orleans a 48-43 lead at

the break.

Memphis was back within a point after Randolph scored inside to

make it 56-55, but the Hornets then put together an 11-1 run late

in the third period, with eight straight points coming from Lopez

before Anderson added a 3 to make it 67-56.

Anderson’s second 3 gave New Orleans its largest lead at 76-60.

Memphis then began to make one final push during which Conley

scored 11 points on three 3s and a pair of free throws, but the

Hornets, who have blown several double-digit leads this season,

uncharacteristically made all the plays they needed to in the

clutch.

NOTES: The victory marked the first time the Hornets (24-46)

have won two straight since the All-Star break. … A shot by

Anderson that was ruled a 3 on the floor late in the first quarter

was changed to a two-pointer on video review in between periods.

Still, the two 3s Anderson made gave him 187 for the season, tied

for third most in a single season in franchise history with Baron

Davis. … Anderson has accounted for just more than 40 percent of

all made 3s by the Hornets this season. … Conley, who came in as

the NBA’s steals leader with 148, had two more in New Orleans. …

Memphis (46-22) has lost three straight on the road to fall to

19-14 away from home. … The Grizzlies finished with a 16-0

advantage in fast-break points.