MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- After all of the offcourt distractions of
the last two days, the New Orleans Hornets needed something
They got it Saturday night.
David West scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and
grabbed 12 rebounds to help the Hornets beat the Memphis Grizzlies
95-86. The win came against a backdrop of Chris Andersen's
dismissal from the team Friday and lingering questions about where
the Hornets will play next year and in the future.
"With all the adversity we've faced, I told them before the
game that you guys have always done a good job of coming together
in the face of adversity," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "That
is something we're going to have to do, not just tonight, but the
rest of the season."
Andersen was dismissed and disqualified from the NBA for
violating the league's drug policy. Several Hornets wore Andersen's
trademark headband. Also before the game, Hornets owner George
Shinn said the team should play in Oklahoma City next season
because New Orleans may not be ready to support the franchise.
West led a fourth-quarter charge as the Hornets connected on 11
of 16 shots in the period to hold off the Grizzlies.
"We knew we had to get aggressive in the second half," West
said. "We didn't want to come out in the third quarter and have a
"... I knew I was going to get the ball in my hands, and I
wanted to be the one to get us going by knocking down a few
Speedy Claxton scored 20 points for the Hornets, who placed six
players in double figures. P.J. Brown had 18 points and Kirk Snyder
and Desmond Mason finished with 10 apiece. Chris Paul scored 13
points despite going 1-for-13 from the field.
Pau Gasol led Memphis with 25 points and 16 rebounds, while
Bobby Jackson scored 22 points. Mike Miller added 11 points, but
was only 1-of-6 from outside the 3-point arc. Memphis, one of the
league's top 3-point shooting teams, hit only 6-of-28 for 21
percent from long range.
"We got happy just taking the threes," Memphis guard Eddie
Jones said. "After a tough game (a 95-89 loss at Detroit on
Friday), you may not have the leg strength. That was key. We were
trying to penetrate and kick. The shots didn't go down. Just don't
blame it on shooting. You can never blame a loss on shooting. It's
what you do defensively."
The Grizzlies have lost seven of their last nine, and while
Gasol was passive during the early part of the streak, his
offensive output has improved the last three games. Against the
Hornets, it was the Grizzlies' inability to hit from outside and
take pressure off the leading scorer.
"We're not playing our offense fluently," Gasol said. "We're
getting into our plays a little late, and we're just not getting it
done right now."
The Hornets built the lead to 10 early in the fourth. West and
Snyder led the way, as New Orleans scored nine straight points as
part of a 15-5 run spanning the third and fourth quarters.
New Orleans eventually extended the lead to 11, and Memphis
never got closer than seven points down the stretch.
"Some nights we shoot well; some nights we don't," Memphis
coach Mike Fratello said. "We have to come out and play hard and
play consistently. ... We have to concentrate on stopping people,
doing what it takes to keep us in games, and, hopefully, hit shots
down the stretch."
The teams were tied at 45 at the half.
Claxton got untracked in the second quarter, scoring 17 of his
18 first-half points in the period as New Orleans erased an early
10-point lead for the Grizzlies.
In the second half, New Orleans resorted to double-teaming Gasol
in the post. With the Grizzlies having trouble from the outside,
the strategy was effective. Gasol was left with few shots, some of
which came when he resorted to 15- to 18-footers.
Meanwhile, West was successfully working against Gasol for nine
straight points late in the stanza.
West's fadeaway 6-footer as the horn sounded to end the third
period gave New Orleans a 67-65 lead entering the final quarter.
Hornets F/C Jackson Vroman took Andersen's spot in the
rotation, playing 16 minutes. He did not score, but had four
rebounds. Brandon Bass, who could also benefit from Andersen's
departure, did not play. ... Gasol entered the game connecting on
25 straight free throws. After making all four in the first half,
he had tied the second-longest streak in franchise history with 29.
He missed his first one of the second half. ... West recorded his
10th double-double of the season. ... Claxton's 17 points in the
second quarter was the most by a Memphis opponent in a period this