Strong defensive 4th quarter leads to impressive Hornets victory over Grizzlies in Memphis

Published: January 27, 2013

The Hornets clamped down on D in the fourth quarter and held the Grizzlies to 23.8% shooting, turning a four point deficit into an eight point victory.

On paper, New Orleans matches up with Memphis better than most other playoff contenders, but once Mike Conley went down just four minutes into the game with an ankle injury, the scale tipped even further in their favor. As I noted in the preview for this game, Conley is the Grizzlies’ only real three-point threat, so with him out of the game, defending the Grizzlies became much easier. For this reason, if he has to miss significant time, Memphis could be in serious trouble. As for this game, let’s take a look at the keys to the game and see how strongly they correlate to tonight’s outcome.

  1. Pack the paint and force them to beat you from deep. As I just noted, doing this became much simpler with Conley out, and they had a decent amount of success as a result… initially. The reason that the numbers look don’t look so flattering is largely due to second chance points, but we’ll get into that more later.
  2. Keep them off of the free throw line. New Orleans did pretty well here, limiting Memphis to just 18 free throw attempts, a bit lower than the Grizzlies’ 24th ranked 20.6 attempts per game. Unfortunately for the Hornets, Memphis also shot them just about as well as they usually do, making 16 of them.
  3. BOX OUT. Oops. The Hornets couldn’t keep Memphis off of the offensive glass at all today, allowing an offensive rebound rate of almost 40% (22 offensive boards on 56 misses). While New Orleans’ initial defense was great, their inability to end possessions after just a single Grizzlies shot made this game much closer than it had to be.
  4. Create easy passing lanes. The Hornets’ guards did a decent job of protecting the ball against one of the NBA’s best defensive back courts, committing only 7 total. Surprisingly enough, it was the New Orleans forwards who had more trouble, particularly Anthony Davis, who coughed the ball up five times. The overall result was just 10 points off of turnovers for Memphis, which was essential in the Hornets’ victory.

Other notes:

  • Hell of a game from Jason Smith tonight, scoring 16 points on just 7 shots to go along with 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, an assist, and no turnovers. Thirteen of those points came in the second half, as he and Anderson led an impressive scoring effort from the Hornets’ bench.
  • Speaking of Anderson – dude took as many shots from inside the 3-point line as I did for the team tonight. For some reason, Memphis thought it would be fun to leave him open for a ton of good 3-point looks, and Ryan made them pay, converting on 7 of his 13 attempts (four more than Memphis made all game long).
  • I liked what I saw from Lopez tonight, even in just 17 minutes of play. He scored 8 points on 6 shots, and did a better job on the glass than he typically does, as those 6 rebounds (4 offensive) is a pretty solid total for such limited playing time.
  • Aminu continues to play well, finishing 4-9 from the field to go along with twice as many rebounds (12) than any other Hornets player. Aminu also did a pretty good job on Rudy Gay, as the Hornets clearly made a point as a team to give him space to shoot in favor of preventing his drives to the rim. The result was a 3-17 shooting night for Gay (1-7 from beyond the arc), far worse than his performance in New Orleans earlier this year in which he scored a game high 28 points on 18 shots.
  • A rough game in the box score for Greivis, but he passed the eye test for most of the night, as many of his misses were shots that he normally hits. Despite taking 16 shots, he still finished with 11 assists and played well down the stretch for New Orleans.

The Hornets will look to carry their success into Los Angeles against the Lakers on Tuesday night. The game will be on NBA TV, not Fox Sports New Orleans. The Hornets haven’t beaten the Lakers since Game 4 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs in 2011, so hopefully they can buck that trend in a couple of nights.


  1. Snow

    January 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    You can tell Gordon being around Aminu has helped him drastically! I hope Anderson has a game like this every night (especially since he’s on my fantasy basketball team haha)

    • CP3nBrees

      January 27, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      I disagree, Aminu is doing what he does best and finally stopped making dumb mistakes, don’t think it has all that much to do with Gordon.

      • xman20002000

        January 28, 2013 at 10:28 am

        Before Gordon returned Aminu rode the bench.. the entire team plays much faster with Gordon.. We were holding the ball at the PG position minutes on end… and sometimes revert to that…

    • Snow

      January 29, 2013 at 8:28 am

      What xman said. You can tell Aminu doesn’t feel as much pressure whenever Gordon is around. He has been running up and down the court more too because whenever Gordon has the ball, people look at him instead of Aminu. Just an opinion

  2. 504ever

    January 27, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    I agree about Lopez. Also, liked his defense on M. Gasol. TV commentators had an interesting story about Rivers, Aminu, and Lopez watching film up until game time. Said Lopez was helping Aminu look at rebounds and learn where the shots will go. Really cool.

    • loudlikepat

      January 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      HA! Lopez telling Aminu where the rebounds are going to go? Lopez rebounds like he thinks the ball is on fire. Good game Pelcs. Austin seems like he’s a little bit more solid game by game. Good to see.

      • 504ever

        January 27, 2013 at 11:03 pm

        I think you are mistaking athleticism for technique.

      • xman20002000

        January 28, 2013 at 10:32 am

        Sometimes you wonder but Rivers has an identifiable basketball IQ as if he is also growing every game… You have to play him feeling sorry for him with every dive for the ball being on his butt more than any player on the team….LOL.. This is one player you want to see grow..

  3. WhoDatPelican96

    January 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    What a surprise. Great, great game. Go Hornicans!!!

    • WhoDatPelican96

      January 27, 2013 at 11:59 pm

      Two thumbs down? Is it cause I said hornicans? That name is getting jokingly passed around quite a bit on HR

  4. mojart

    January 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    now time to beat up pass first kobe and the lakers…..

  5. CP3nBrees

    January 27, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    So for those of us who don’t have NBATV we won’t be able to watch that game?

    • WhoDatPelican96

      January 28, 2013 at 12:23 am

      IDK. I can’t remember if FSNO is still allowed to broadcast when NBATV shows the games.


    January 28, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Jason Smith was awesome – energy, toughness, defense on top of that sweet mid-range jumper. The entire bench won this game. Mason, I was wondering if you heard anything about EG’s knee causing him problems again. The last couple of games, he seems to be moving at about 75% of his normal speed. Good to see the Pelicans win one without either starting guard playing very well.

  7. NolaHog

    January 28, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Where were the Mardi Gras jerseys? If they go through their final Hornets season without pulling out the MG jerseys, I’m going to be pissed.

    Jason Smith. . . the man, not the myth!

    • Jason Calmes

      January 28, 2013 at 9:04 am

      They are going to use them.

  8. Nate

    January 28, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Rhyno, The Flamethrower!

  9. xman20002000

    January 28, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Let’s be more sensitive to Mr. Benson for the name change… It’s not the state bird so much but New Orleans Pelicans were a league baseball team… By comparison the Lakers were once in Minnesota… more lakes than anywhere in the nation… The LA Dodgers were in Brooklyn.. What is a Celtic, a Thunder, a 49er, Sonic, Clipper etc. etc…

    And if you go to YouTube the pelican is pretty mean and a real wild animal.. If Mr. Benson wants to name the mascot…so be it.. Now it will be kinda weird at first.. But our football team is the Saints… go figure…

    • NolaHog

      January 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      I get it, it’s just that I really like the Creole Blue color. What will happen to Hugo? Will there be a ceremony where he’s killed during the last game of the season?
      In the end though, Benson bought the team, which I’m grateful for. He has the right to name them whatever he wants.

      • Andres_SAN _FRAN

        January 28, 2013 at 1:05 pm

        What I really like is the Basketball team. Don’t really care what they wear, or what they are called………………Gosh I hope their uniforms look cool!

      • WhoDatPelican96

        January 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm

        Oh my god me some other friends have been joking about the death of Hugo for weeks. Hahaha. Good to know fellow hornets fans think the same.

  10. Nate

    January 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm


    Let’s not have a Brooklyn-Knight esque mascot!

  11. Pingback: Slowing Down | New Orleans Hornets |

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