Memphis 87 (5-15) | New Orleans 106 (11-6)
Sorry for being a little late on the recap. Wild night last night, but I'll get to that later. Let's do this.
Short version of last night's game: Hornets blow out Grizzlies and neither team plays their starters for more than 30 minutes. Done and done.
Our starters looked great, knocking down 60% from the field and playing solid D. Chris kept his steal streak alive and almost managed to put up his season averages despite the limited playing time and Peja looked like a man on a mission when drained 5 straight treys (only to miss his last 2 attempts). Coincidentally, it was "Vote for Peja" night at the Hive, so I guess he wanted to make a strong case for all the All Star ballot filler outers.
The Grizzlies generally looked out of sync with each other. There didn't really seem to be a game plan on offense (though it should have been get the ball to Mayo). They were a little more together on defense, but at 52% from the field, the Hornets had the hot hand and were virtually unstoppable.
That is, until the second unit came in the game. Keep in mind that Memphis also sat their starters shortly after we sat ours halfway through the third. So our bench was playing their bench. Not their starters, their bench. Fourth quarter scoring: Grizzlies 26, Hornets 16. Oof. Granted, most of those points came from Marc Gasol going up against Hilton, but still. Ostensibly the second took our 32 point lead and magically transformed it 19.
But it wasn't just another case of the second unit giving away the game (not even our bench could have pissed away last night's lead). It was worse in a kind of "I can't believe we still look this bad even when we're matched up with Memphis' scrubs." Seriously, we were flat out wasting possessions. It was turnover after poor shot selection after shot clock violation after offensive foul and back again. I'm pretty sure we opened the fourth with 4 points through the first 9 minutes of the quarter. 4 points in 9 minutes! Oof.
The weirdest part? Even though Memphis' second unit outscored us, you've got to wonder why they chose to just roll over and take the loss. I mean, why pull your starters? It was probably a long shot for them to actually come back (and we'd have put our starters back in eventually if that were the case), but if you're down 30, what do you have to lose?
So we whooped a team that appeared to have little drive to even win in the first place. Sound like no big deal? Well then, I guess you didn't read this.
Couple of observations before I leave you:
- We went 19 of 20 from the charity stripe. Just saying.
- OJ Mayo is good. I know, I know. If you read this blog, you've no doubt read countless articles telling you the same thing from countless different sources, but it's true. He has great shot selection for a rookie 2 guard and he has pretty impressive ball handling skills. On a few possessions, if he went up for a shot and changed his mind mid jump, he'd easily find an open man with a better look. He was easily the most impressive Grizzly on the court last night.
- Right after I wrote that last sentence in my notebook, Mayo launched a pass out-of-bounds that didn't appear to be aimed at anyone in particular. Great, I apparently know nothing about this sport.
- From our seats, Marc Gasol was the spiting image of a really tall Jack Black. I wrote this down like 5 times last night. But when I compared photos of them side by side, I found out that I am probably insane and could use a trip to the optometrist.
Photo courtesy of espn.com