Game On: Hornets @ Grizzlies

The Hornets travel to Memphis for their second meeting with the Grizzlies at 5 PM central time, and it will be their last match-up until March.

The Grizzlies are coming off of one of their most impressive victories of the season, as they demolished the Brooklyn Nets at home by 24 points on Friday night. Hopefully, this one won’t be so easy. Memphis won 96-89 in the two teams’ first game in New Orleans back in early December, a game that saw Rudy Gay and former Hornet Quincy Pondexter combine for 44 points on just 24 shots. Q-Pon in particular clearly wanted to send a message to his former team, making all six of his attempts, including 4-4 from 3-point range. An injury will keep him out of this one, which will hurt Memphis’ already weak perimeter shooting ability. Let’s dive into what the Hornets need to do to tame the Grizzlies, winners of four out of their past five games.

Keys to the Game

  1. Pack the paint and force them to beat you from deep. The Grizzlies recently lost the vast majority of their long range shooting threats, either through injury (Pondexter) or trades (Ellington). The only guy you have to guard out behind the 3-point line is Mike Conley, a career 37.8% shooter from that distance. Apart from him, everyone else on the team makes no more than 1/3 of their threes, so New Orleans would be wise to encourage those shots.
  2. Keep them off of the free throw line. The Grizzlies are in the bottom third of the league in free throw rate, averaging about a free throw attempt for every four field goal attempts. That being said, they’re top-5 in the NBA in free throw percentage, so when they get there, they will convert. The Hornets need to avoid ill-advised fouls that could result in Memphis getting into the bonus early in the quarter. Haddadi is their only rotation player who shoots under 70% from the free throw line, so they are pretty solid all-around from the charity stripe.
  3. BOX OUT. The Grizzlies have the NBA’s best offensive rebound rate, grabbing 32.2% of their own misses. If you give any NBA team a second chance to score on 1/3 of their field goal attempts, they will probably beat you. The Hornets have to be aware of where Zach Randolph’s whereabouts every time a shot goes up, and make sure to get a body on him.
  4. Create easy passing lanes. Memphis forces turnovers on 17.5% of opponents’ possessions, good for second best in the NBA behind just just the Clippers. This ranking is due in large part to their Conley/Allen/Gay back court, which averages over 5 steals per game. If Hornets guards attempt lazy passes, the Grizzlies will take advantage and turn them into points, as their 19.1 points off of turnovers per game is also second best in the league.

If New Orleans can succeed in at least three out of four of these keys, they should have a good chance to come out on top. Also, as an FYI, the Hornets announced this morning that they have recalled Darius Miller from their D-League affiliate, the Iowa Energy. Enjoy the game!

One response to “Game On: Hornets @ Grizzlies”

  1. I am hoping that Miller gets a lot of PT today! Hopefully his time in the D League has improved his skills. Come on Horicans let’s get this win

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