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Balanced Grizzlies beat Hornets 96-85

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 9, 2013 at 11:13 pm •  Published: March 9, 2013

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies keep returning from halftime and imposing their style on opponents.

With an emphasis on defense and pressure to increase the pace, Memphis again used a strong third quarter to beat the New Orleans Hornets 96-85 on Saturday night.

"I think our focus coming out of halftime, understanding what we need to adjust, then going out and executing it, has been phenomenal," said guard Mike Conley, who led Memphis scorers with 22 points.

"We came in the locker room and said: 'We have to do this, that and this,' and we go out there and do it."

Conley, who also had eight assists, led seven Memphis players in double figures as the Grizzlies won their fourth straight. Tony Allen had 14 points, while Tayshaun Prince and Quincy Pondexter scored 13 points apiece. Ed Davis had 12 points, nine rebounds and matched his career best with five blocks.

Davis, who came to Memphis in the three-team deal that sent Grizzlies leading scorer Rudy Gay to Toronto on Jan. 30, said he is becoming more comfortable in his new surroundings and that the Grizzlies' defensive mindset allows him to roam more on defense.

"When you first get to a new team, you're a little like: 'Should I do this or do that?'" Davis said. "But I'm playing more now and just trying to make plays on the defensive end.

"I know there are a bunch of really good defenders, so I can play a little more loose, and they will have my back."

Jerryd Bayless and Marc Gasol scored 10 points apiece, although Gasol missed all four of his shots in the second half. Memphis has won 12 of its last 13.

As evidence of the Grizzlies' third-quarter dominance, Memphis has outscored opponents by an average of 26.8 to 17.6 in the last six games, and that includes breaking even in two of those third quarters.

"Being consistent is probably the biggest thing," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "Possession after possession, we come down and we don't make a lot of mistakes on defense."

Anthony Davis led the Hornets with 20 points and 18 rebounds, while Ryan Anderson scored 17 points. Greivis Vasquez added 12 points and eight assists, and Eric Gordon had 11 points.

The Hornets lost their third straight and have dropped five of six. The Hornets also realized the turning point was after halftime.

"The game was close until the third quarter," Vasquez said, later adding: "I don't think our energy is there like it usually is, so, like I've been saying all year, we've got to play with energy."

The Hornets were playing their first game without rookie guard Austin Rivers, who broke a bone in his right hand in New Orleans' loss on Wednesday to the Los Angeles Lakers.

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