Claxton, West Lead Hornets Past Grizzlies
New Orleans/Oklahoma City 95, Memphis 86 (F)
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 28 (Ticker) -- Speedy Claxton and David West had no problem sharing the scoring duties for the New Orleans Hornets. The Memphis Grizzlies are still searching for any kind of offense.
Claxton scored 17 of his 20 points in the second quarter and West added 19 and 12 rebounds to lift the Hornets to a 95-86 victory over the slumping Grizzlies.
Aside from a fine outing from Pau Gasol, the Grizzlies failed to muster much offense and finished 6-of-28 from the arc. Gasol scored 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting and grabbed 16 rebounds, but his teammates combined to shoot just 37 percent (20-of-54).
"We knew we didn't want to come in here and get in back in the locker room and say, 'Pau Gasol beat us,'" West said. "We wanted to make other people do it. We put pressure on their other guys to make plays."
"We knew coming in that if we were going to double (Gasol), we had to get out on their 3-point shooters or else they were going to kill us," Claxton said.
While Claxton did most of his damage in the second period, West was the offensive catalyst after the break. The third-year forward poured in 15 points in the second half and ignited a key surge for the Hornets, who improved to 2-1 against the Grizzlies this season.
With the game tied, 65-65, nearing the end of the third quarter, West drilled a buzzer-beating jumper to spark a 9-0 run and give the Hornets the lead for good.
"Guys kept coming to me," West said. "They kept putting the ball in my hands and telling me to make plays and produce."
Kirk Snyder scored five of his 10 points during the outburst and P.J. Brown capped the run with a short jumper to open a 74-65 lead with 9:38 remaining.
"Our team feeds off of guys making shots," said Hornets rookie sensation Chris Paul, who sank 11-of-12 free throws and finished with 13 points and eight assists. "When we have someone making shots, we're tough to defend."
Brown scored 18 points and Desmond Mason chipped in 10 for the Hornets.
Memphis held a 16-9 edge on the boards after one quarter, but the Hornets owned a 34-21 advantage thereafter and allowed Memphis just four second-chance points.
"Give them credit," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "They played very well and did a good job of taking our shooters out of the game."
One of the NBA's surprise teams this season, the Hornets improved to 6-6 against Southwest Division opponents.
"It really is a big win for us," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We came together and played extremely well."
Bobby Jackson scored 22 points for the Grizzlies, who have failed to reach 90 points in seven of their last nine games.
"We didn't play our best, and we didn't play with enough energy to win this game," Gasol said. "It really hurts because we can't lose these games right now. Losing seven out of nine does not exactly boost our confidence. We need to do something to play more aggressive and play with more energy, desire and swagger a winning team needs. We have to, we have to make it happen."