Lopez, Davis lead Hornets past Grizzlies, 90-83
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When big men Robin Lopez and Anthony Davis play well on the same night, the New Orleans Hornets are transformed from one of the worst teams in the Western Conference into a threat to anyone in the league.
Lopez had 23 points, including a key putback and a pair of free throws in the final 1:11, and the Hornets beat the playoff-contending Memphis Grizzlies 90-83 on Friday.
Lopez also had 10 rebounds and Davis added 18 points and 15 boards for New Orleans, which has won two in a row against teams in playoff contention, the first coming against Boston on Wednesday night.
"Our big guys did a good job playing with a great amount of intensity and they were the difference in the game," said guard Greivis Vasquez, who had 12 points and nine assists. "When you have a guy like Robin Lopez, the way he played tonight, it's huge. If he does that consistently, I think we can be a different team for sure."
Mike Conley scored 20 points while nearly leading the Grizzlies back from a 16-point fourth-quarter hole. His consecutive 3s had Memphis as close as 83-81 with 2:36 left, but Vasquez answered with a big 3 on a kick-out from Eric Gordon and Lopez's putback made it 88-81.
Gordon, who scored 11 points, had only two assists, but Vasquez said Gordon deserved credit for the pass that set up his momentum-changing 3 with 1:50 left.
"He got me a wide-open shot," Vasquez said. "He could have easily scored or got a foul and he just kicked the ball out to me and I was ready to hit that shot."
Marc Gasol had 16 points for the Grizzlies, while Zach Randolph added 14 and Jerryd Bayless 12.
"We were just not playing defensively and the game got away," Gasol said. "They did a great job of rebounding and we did not help on the drive and did not contest shots. They just had an open lane for rebounds."
Lopez and Davis helped the Hornets outrebound Memphis 49-33. Lopez had six offensive boards, a key factor in the Hornets' 22-12 advantage in second-chance points.
"Everybody was being aggressive," Lopez said. "I got some cleanup baskets. Anthony was attacking and they had to box him out. They left me wide open."
Hornets coach Monty Williams conceded that he left Lopez in the game longer planned — nearly 30 minutes — because Ryan Anderson was in foul trouble. The way Lopez, in his fifth season, and Davis, a rookie, played together this time left Williams bullish about how the pair might blossom in upcoming seasons.