Hornets Fall To Grizzlies Despite Jack’s Big Game

Published: January 18, 2012

Jarrett Jack and Trevor Ariza gave it their all, but it wasn’t enough to propel the Hornets past the Grizzlies on Wednesday night.


Jarrett Jack & Mike Conley

Jake Madison contributed to this recap.

Memphis came out firing and raced out to a double digit lead behind some hot shooting and poor interior defense by the Hornets. Memphis went 5 for 5 inside the paint and shot 8 for 11 outside. That’s an absurd 81.3%. Mike Conley was especially deadly, going 3 for 3 from deep. In particular, Belinelli struggled guarding Tony Allen who put up 8 points in the quarter. Monty would pull out his hair (if he wasn’t bald) at the number of open cutters the Grizzlies had. The Hornets did break out of the three-point shooting slump and went 2 for 3 from behind the arc. Other than that, just pretend that first quarter didn’t happen, Monty.

In the second quarter the Hornets’ defense tightened up and the Grizzlies came back down to earth. The Hornets allowed only 6 points from outside the paint and the Grizzlies shooting percentage dropped to 63.9%. The interior defense was still a mess, letting the Grizzlies get inside when they wanted too. On offense, Trevor Ariza came alive and scored 6 points. He showed no ill effects from his groin pull and was very active trying to create his own shot. Jack hit another shot from deep bringing the Hornets total to three on the night. It had to be the Hornets best shooting quarter of the season and they closed the half only down.

In the second half the Hornets finally started to play a complete game. The defense locked down and only allowed 17 points. All of us here at Hornets247 expected Gay to go off tonight, with or without Ariza on the court, but he was held to a quiet four points and the Grizzlies shooting percentage dropped to 54.7%.

Offensively, Jason Smith scored 8 points and was the offensive spark for the Hornets. His energy on the court was contagious. Ariza seemed more active than I’ve seen him in a long while and he had two steals as a result. Ayon had no stats in the box score for the quarter but definitely made his presence felt on the court. He was active on defense and seems very comfortable guarding guards in the backcourt. This is going to make running the pick and roll on him much harder since he is solid on defense when switched onto a smaller, more athletic player. Even if the Hornets keep losing, the effort is there and eventually that will lead to wins.

The 4th quarter was a rollercoaster for Hornet’s fans. After struggling for the first part they managed to bring it within four late in the quarter, but ultimately couldn’t overcome the Grizzlies. Really, it’s too depressing to recap so I’m going to talk about some positive aspects of this game:

-Jarrett Jack went off tonight. 27 points on 11 of 15 shooting and a perfect 4 of 4 from deep. In his pre-game press conference, Monty said he likes having “glue guys” who “toe the line” when the team struggles. Tonight, Jack led the team with his energy and play, and nearly managed to eke out a victory.

-With the way the season has gone, would anyone have been surprised if the Hornets just gave up after the first quarter? Instead of folding, the team knuckled down and played hard. The Hornets had 12 turnovers in the second half. Eliminate two of those and the Hornets could have won the game.

-Three-point shooting! 5-12! Way, way better than 0-9 like last game. Combine that with the teams’ effort, a healthy Ariza (who was very active on both offense and defense) and Gordon, and the wins will start coming soon.

Memphis Grizzlies 93 FinalRecap | Box Score 87 New Orleans Hornets
Trevor Ariza, SF 40 MIN | 7-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 18 PTS | -6Trevor looked great in his first action since straining his groin earlier this season. His first half was a good all-around effort, and in the second he went right back to work. It’s nice to see him hittig the 15 footer from the baseline since I see him practicing it all the time in the gym. He really is a factor on defense, too.
Jason Smith, PF 29 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -1Was great offensively in the first few minutes of each half, and great defensively in the second, blocking multiple shots. I still can’t figure out why he’s starting since he’s so much better as an energy guy off the bench, but today was much better than Monday. He had a few plays above the rim and overall was very efficient and effective when he was on the floor. the jumper was working tonight.
Emeka Okafor, C 23 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -15Really struggled to guard Gasol, especially from 15 feet. He also couldn’t grab boards. He played the last three minutes of the fourth quarter instead of Ayon. That sort of worked out, as Okafor was able to contain Gasol for the first time all game. and was able to pull down one key board. Then it stopped working as the Hornets literally couldn’t grab a defensive board when they needed it most. I blame the big man, fair or not.
Jarrett Jack, PG 35 MIN | 11-15 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 27 PTS | -2Did what he does, and at a high level, and really closed well. Found his three-point stroke again, which is a weapon he really seemed to deliberately remove from his arsenal last season and in the beginning of this one. He’s much more dangerous when he’s at least taking those, especially since he hits them at a high rate. Sometimes he doesn’t close well, but today he did. It was a fourth quarter reminiscent of point guards past. Conley did go to town on him, however, so it’s hard for me to really say that the game was that great, but it was really, really good.
Marco Belinelli, SG 40 MIN | 2-7 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -4Was getting worked by Tony Allen in the first and got pulled early despite actually making a three pointer. He came back out there and contributed one of the more efficient offensive performances of his season up until the fourth quarter, where he missed a number of momentum changing shots that the Hornets desperately needed made. Blah
Chris Kaman, C 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 4 PTS | +3Bad on offense, decent on the boards, better on defense. It’s all relative, though. It was a poor game for the big fellow. Somehow he was the sub of the game. I’d love to know who makes that decision and how it’s made.
Trey Johnson, SG 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -3Played a few minutes and didn’t do anything wrong until committing a turnover in the closing seconds of the game when it was already essentially over.
Carl Landry, PF 9 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -2Missed shots repeatedly around the basket early on. Didn’t give up, but still struggled to make them. I can’t fault him for a few bad minutes. Monty has to give him more time if he wants to get consistent production.
DaJuan Summers, F 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +1Saw limited time, but didn’t make much of an impact one way or the other.
Greivis Vasquez, PG 17 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -3Never really found his rhythm on offense and was a bit too slow on defense to stick with Tony Allen or Mike Conley. His play has bored me lately, whereas I was particularly excited about seeing him earlier this season. He really seems to need more freedom to operate effectively, and I don’t think he’s getting it right now in the Hornets offense.
Gustavo Ayon, PF 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +3– Only saw about four minutes until the fourth quarter despite seemingly shoring up the defense when he was in there. Of course he started the fourth, though. Immediately he made a difference on the defensive end, stepping out to contest a three, and then picking up Gasol on the next possession. It makes me so happy that he finishes so strong at every possible opportunity. I feel like we haven’t seen that from a Hornets big man in years. He’s also a good passer already.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -1Barely played in the first three quarter and then started the fourth guarding Gay. After tossing it out of bounds right after touching it for the first time in the quarter, Aminu handled the ball only once more before being pulled in favor of Ariza. Seemed to me like he was getting more comfortable on the floor a few games ago. Guess Monty disagrees.

Five Things We Saw

  1. I hit up the Hornets store before the game to see what the state of affairs was. The verdict? Not bad. First off, you can get a Gustavo Ayon jersey. That’s a huge win right there. You can also get Kaman, Ariza, Landry, Okafor, Jack, Belinelli, and Smith. You can’t get Squeakly (although there has been interest in custom jerseys that just say “Squeaky”), Aminu, Vasquez, Summers or Trey. You can also get Chris Paul, David West, Peja, Posey, and Pops Mensah-Bonsu. I know that last one is really exciting.
  2. Attendance was pretty bad (12,045), but those who were there were pretty solid. As the Hornets tried to make their fourth quarter comeback there was real energy for the effort.
  3. The Hornets are getting a lot better at utilizing the house band. They seem to have acknowledged the limitations of a jazz band, and instead of using them to get the crowd riled up (a laughable situation in the first few games), they have moved to using them as filler during timeouts, pregame, and postgame. Great early season adjustments by the team!
  4. There were probably 4 straight offensive boards by the Grizz when the Hornets were down four with 35 seconds to go. I saw a couple leaving right before this, and remarked to the people next to me how absurd it was that the couple was leaving. I feel like I jinxed the comeback. Sorry.
  5. It’s time to trade a big man and maybe small forward. Aminu and Ayon (maybe Summer, too) need to see more time on the floor.


Jarrett Jack

Emeka Okafor

Greivis Vasquez



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