Grizzlies hold off late rally by Hornets
Published 11:15 pm Saturday, February 12, 2022
By Steve Reed
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE — Ja Morant scored 26 points, Desmond Bane added 25 and the Memphis Grizzlies held off the Charlotte Hornets 125-118 on Saturday night for their fifth straight win.
Jaren Jackson Jr. had 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Steven Adams added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies (40-18), who have won eight of their last nine games while scoring at least 120 points in their last five.
Terry Rozier had 35 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who trailed by 35 before cutting the lead to four late in the fourth quarter. LaMelo Ball finished with 25 points and newly acquired Montrezl Harrell had 20 for the slumping Hornets, which has lost seven of their last eight games.
Charlotte (29-29) had hoped to generate some momentum after beating the Detroit Pistons on Friday night to snap a six-game losing streak.
But the Hornets came out flat, missing 15 of 16 shots to start the game as the Grizzlies raced to a 23-4 lead. Memphis extended the lead to 35 late in the second quarter, dominating the Hornets in the paint 72-50.
The Grizzlies led by more than 20 for most of the game, but the Hornets began to cut into the lead after Adams fouled out with 7:27 remaining in the game.
Morant, who came into the game averaging 32.5 points in the Grizzlies’ previous 11 games, scored on back-to-back possessions to push the Memphis lead to 14. He hurt the Hornets repeatedly by dicing his way through the lane for layups and finished 12 of 21 from the field.
The Hornets kept battling and cut the lead to four with 2:05 to go. However, Tyus Jones hit a runner and Bane scored on a runout layup after Ball missed a 3-point attempt and fell down, pushing the Memphis lead to eight and essentially securing the win.
The Hornets were without Gordon Hayward (ankle sprain), Cody Martin (Achilles soreness) and Jalen McDaniels (ankle sprain).
Grizzlies: At New Orleans on Tuesday night.
Hornets: At Minnesota on Tuesday night.