MEMPHIS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans discovered that the Memphis Grizzlies defense was as tough as advertised
The Pelicans were averaging 102.5 points and shooting 42 percent entering Monday night's game, but the Grizzlies — the NBA's top defensive unit — limited New Orleans to 34 percent shooting in a 93-81 loss to Memphis.
For the Grizzlies, the win was their 16th straight at home to set a franchise record. Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 16 points, Zach Randolph had 15 and Tayshaun Prince added 14.
Randolph had 11 rebounds to give him a double-double in each of the team's four games. Gasol (11 rebounds) and Tony Allen (12 points, 11 rebounds) also finished with double-doubles.
Tyreke Evans led the Pelicans (1-2) with 21 points. New Orleans was 4 of 24 from 3-point range. Anthony Davis, who was averaging 28 points, was held to 14.
"We shot terrible," Davis said. "We couldn't make shots. The ball just couldn't go in the bucket."
Memphis used its defense and rebounding — a 52-49 advantage — to overcome a lackluster shooting effort of its own. The Grizzlies shot 41 percent and guard Mike Conley missed eight of the 10 shots he attempted.
"We didn't go out and beat them 110-108," said Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger. "We got them in the mud and we got our hands and our bodies on people. We were very physical."
The Grizzlies limited the Pelicans to 13 points in the first quarter, one in which New Orleans shot 23 percent.
"Obviously in an NBA game there (are) going to be some tough shots taken because that's what NBA player do," said Pelicans coach Monty Williams. "But we had a number of open looks tonight. Ryan (Anderson) is not going to go 2-for-14. That just doesn't happen."
Despite their offensive struggles, the Grizzlies pulled away in the fourth quarter behind reserve Vince Carter and Prince. Carter's turnaround jumper gave the Grizzlies a 71-66 lead midway through the quarter and two minutes later Prince scored back-to-back baskets, the second a fast-break slam off a feed from Beno Udrih for a 76-68 lead. Quincy Pondexter added a key 3-pointer for an 81-72 advantage with 4:34 to go and in the closing minute two Allen free throws gave the Grizzlies their biggest lead at 93-79.
"They did a good job of front early in the game we got stagnant," Joerger said. "As good as we were defensively, offensively we were really slow. We were walking up the court."
The Grizzlies, who led by as many as 10 points in the first half, struggled from the floor in the third quarter. Memphis was 7 of 23 in the quarter and allowed the Pelicans to grab their first lead at 45-44 early in the period. But the Grizzlies recovered behind Gasol. Gasol scored 10 points during a two-minute stretch that allowed the Grizzlies to take a 60-48 lead.
The Grizzlies: Center Marc Gasol, leading the team with a 24.7 average, did not attempt his first shot until 3:51 remained in the second quarter. ... The Grizzlies did not have a fast-break point in their 71-69 win over Charlotte Saturday. They had four in the first half against the Pelicans and six for the game. ... Monday night marked the 10th anniversary of NBA basketball at FedExForum.
The Pelicans: Reserve forward John Salmons missed Monday's game due to a family situation, according to Williams. ... Reserve Ryan Anderson, who entered the game averaging 16.5 points, was held to seven points on 2-of-14 shooting. ... Starting guard Eric Gordon's early season slump continued. He was 4-of-14 shooting, including 0 for 5 from beyond the arc, and finished with 11 points. He entered the game averaging 4 points per game.
Grizzlies: Visit Phoenix on Wednesday.
Pelicans: Return home to face Charlotte.
After the Pelican's Davis scored with 6:51 to go in the fourth quarter to trim the Memphis lead to four points (72-68), Prince scored consecutive baskets to spark a 9-4 run to put the Grizzlies up by nine (81-72) with 4:33 to go in the game.
The Grizzlies limited the Pelicans to 33.7 shooting (29 of 86). Over its past two games, Memphis had held the opposition to 34.8 percent shooting (55 of 158).
For the first time this season, the Grizzlies' bench outscored their opponent's reserves. Memphis's second unit had a 25-19 advantage with veteran Vince Carter finishing with nine points to lead the reserves.
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Posted on Tue, November 4, 2014
by PHIL STUKENBORG