Hornets at Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies feature the best scoring defense in the NBA and are starting to figure things out on the offensive end. The Grizzlies will be looking to reach 100 points for a third straight game when they host the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday. The Hornets have dropped back-to-back games to Southwest Division opponents and are kicking off a five-game road trip with Memphis. New Orleans has been slightly better on the road (7-14) than at home (7-15).
The Grizzlies reached 100 points in six of their first eight games but had not reached the century mark in back-to-back contests again until this week. Memphis had six players reach double figures in a 106-93 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday and had seven hit 10 or more in Friday’s 101-77 triumph over the Brooklyn Nets. The Hornets had won seven of nine before hitting their recent skid.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, FSNO (New Orleans), SPSO (Memphis)
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (28-14): Memphis made a trade earlier in the week, sending out three players and a first-round draft pick in a move that cleared enough cap space to keep the team under the luxury tax. The move had the benefit of providing some security to veterans like Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph, who had been hearing trade rumors before the deal. With their stars together and no tax burden, the Grizzlies are ready to make their move in the West and have looked like a contender in the last two contests. Memphis shot 52.2 percent in the win over Brooklyn, led by 20 points on 10-of-15 shooting from Marc Gasol. With the bench rotation more settled in the wake of the trade, Jerryd Bayless and Darrell Arthur have each taken on bigger roles.
ABOUT THE HORNETS (14-29): New Orleans officially unveiled their new name and logo this week, and the New Orleans Pelicans will debut next season. Until then, the Hornets will be trying to work their way out of last place in the Western Conference. Their surge in the first half of January had a lot to do with a defensive effort that held opponents to 90.3 points over a seven-game span from Jan. 5-16. New Orleans has been less efficient on that end in the last four contests, allowing 100 points or more in each. The Hornets allowed the Rockets to shoot 52.4 percent from 3-point range in a 100-82 loss on Friday.
1. Memphis F Jon Leuer, who came over from Cleveland in the trade, has yet to score in two games.
2. The Grizzlies took the first meeting 96-89 on Dec. 7 and have won six of the last seven in the series.
3. New Orleans rookie Anthony Davis missed the first meeting with Memphis. He is averaging 12.9 points and 7.8 rebounds.