After scoring over 100 points in the last two games against the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, the Memphis Grizzlies went back to their poor shooting ways Sunday evening in a 91-83 loss at home to the New Orleans Hornets. The Grizzlies dropped to 28-15 and the Hornets improved to 15-29. It was a very frustrating loss for the entire organization and their passionate fans.
The loss might have been more costly, as point guard Mike Conley turned his ankle in the first quarter and did not return. He will be evaluated tomorrow for the Grizzlies’ game at the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night. X-Rays were negative, and Conley said he more pain in the bone than the ligaments or tendons.
The first quarter was back and forth with neither team leading by more than 4 points. The Grizzlies would take a 13-9 lead with 4:50 left in the quarter. New Orleans then went on a 9-2 run to take an 18-15 lead. The Hornets would end up with a 24-23 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Hornets went on an 8-0 run to open the second to make it 32-23. The Grizzlies answered with an 16-2 run of their own to make it 39-34 Grizzlies with 4:01 left. During the run, rookie forward Chris Johnson made 2 three pointers and assisted on a Zach Randolph lay-up. New Orleans would come back to take a 42-41 lead with 1:13 left in the half. The Grizzlies would end up with a 45-43 lead at the half.
The two teams would trade the lead for the entire third quarter. Tony Allen hit a one of two free throws with 4:43 left to give the Grizzlies a 58-55 lead, the largest lead of the quarter to that point. Memphis forward Darrell Arthur made two free throws with a second left in the quarter to give the Grizzlies a 68-64 lead going into the fourth.
Neither team lead by more than 4 points for the first half the fourth quarter. Tony Allen made a layup with 5:07 left to make it 77-76 Hornets. New Orleans then went on a 9-0 run to go up 86-76 and take control of the game. The Hornets would go up by as many as 11 points. The Grizzlies would cut it to 89-83 with 2 seconds left, but it was too little too late. New Orleans buried two free throws with a second left to make it 91-83 Hornets. Those two free throws were the only points the Hornets would score in the last 1:44 of the game.
The Hornets shot 42.9% from the field including 9/20 from 3 point range. New Orleans made 16 of 23 free throws. The Hornets had 43 rebounds, 20 assists, 6 steals, 7 blocks and 15 turnovers. New Orleans had 11 fast break points, and 34 points in the paint.
Forward Ryan Anderson scored 22 points, including 7 three pointers. He also had 5 rebounds. Forward Jason Smith was probable with a shoulder injury but did play Sunday. He scored 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and an assist of the bench. Forward Anthony Davis had 10 points, 6 rebounds, an assist, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Forward Al-Farouq Aminu had 9 points, 12 rebounds, and a block. center Robin Lopez had 8 points and 6 rebounds. Eric Gordon had 8 points, 4 steals, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks.
Memphis shot 36.4% from the field, including 3 for 16 from 3 point range. The Grizzlies made 16 of 18 free throws. Memphis had 47 rebounds, 18 assists, 10 steals, 7 blocks, and 15 turnovers. The Grizzlies had 12 fast break points and 42 points in the paint.
Randolph recorded his 28th double double of the season to lead the league. He had 20 points, 13 rebounds, an assist and a steal. Center Marc Gasol also had a double double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal. Point guard Jerryd Bayless had 14 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 2 rebounds, in relief of the injured Conley. Forward Rudy Gay had 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. He shot a dreadful 3 for 17 from the field though. Allen had 9 points and 5 rebounds. Arthur had 8 points, 7 rebounds and a block.
Despite their shooting woes tonight, Memphis still had a legitimate shot of winning with 5 minutes to go. They were outscored 27-15 in the fourth and lost the game because of it. Keep an eye on Conley’s ankle. Memphis coach Lionel Hollins expects Conley to play tomorrow night in Philadelphia.