The Grizzlies beat the Hornets

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Published: March 4, 2010

That was a tough game to swallow.  The Hornets had a solid lead with 5 minutes to go, they had Rudy Gay barking at the referees, and earning a tech, and it seemed like they momentarily relaxed.  One minute later the score was tied.  Then the Hornets were down, and then Posey got a vital rebound with 8 seconds left, turned . . . and led a fastbreak towards the sideline with his head down.  Turnover.  Game.

Wow.

At this point in the season, losses like that are deadly to the Hornets’ playoff chances.  Like Niall said in the comments post-game, I’m sure the team will keep fighting, but the margin for error is vanishing quickly.

Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton

Thornton and Collison were fully what we’ve come to expect and love during the game.  High energy and lots of stat-stuffing.  Thornton, in particular, was an offensive firestorm tonight.  24 points on 16 shots in 32 minutes.  His first play upon entering the game was a sneaky strip of a rebound from Gasol.

That said, both players showed all game long that they could be abused defensively.  In the first half, the Grizzlies posted Collison 6 times – and they resulted in 1 basket, 4 free throws, 2 hockey assists, and one missed shot.  They then did the same thing to Thornton when he came in, posting him with Mayo and Young.  Thornton held his own against Mayo, but Young was muscling him all over the court.  He went 3/3 with an assist during that stretch.

Of course, Thornton was infinitely better than Morris Peterson, who practiced waving at Mayo’s shots all night long – from about ten feet away.

David West

Give it up to the Grizzlies defensive focus.  West caught the ball and was left to operate within 14 feet of the basket exactly twice all night long.  They allowed him to freely catch it a step or two inside the three point line, but anything closer was immediately doubled, usually by the other big.  This led to West finding some nice assists, but it also made the Hornet’s attack almost purely perimeter oriented.  Despite the focus, West did what he could to still impact the game, putting up 15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 5(?!?) blocks.

Other Observations

  • The Hornets shot 13 free throws all night long.  13.  The Grizzlies shot 38.  I’d love to follow that with a snarky remark like “so much for homecourt advantage” but the Hornets didn’t deserve many more free throws than that.  They have to get some free throws from their big men, and Okafor, West and Gray combined to take two.
  • Gray played better than Okafor.  I don’t even know where to go from there.  Yay, Aaron Gray?
  • Songaila was knocking the rust off his jumper, but he still had a couple of his great flashes into the paint for easy short-range shots.
  • Interior defense was a serious problem.  There may be some relation between this observation and the one two spots above it.

I’m not sure what else to say about the game.  Some ugly basketball on both sides.  Definitely NOT a “Keep until a Delete” candidate.

Next game is Friday against the Spurs.  On ESPN again.  Maybe Buckets can go for 50 this time and pull out a Hornets win.

UPDATE: Game highlights…

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