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Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 90, Grizzlies 83

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Hornets (24-46), Grizzlies (46-22)

It was over when… Robin Lopez sank two free throws with 29 seconds remaining, giving New Orleans a 90-83 lead. After a missed Memphis three-point attempt, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins cleared his bench. The Hornets won consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 11-13 and defeated two straight opponents with winning records for the first time since Jan. 7-9. Midway through an extremely challenging seven-game homestand, the Hornets are now 2-1, with games next week vs. Denver, the Clippers, Miami and Cleveland. The Nuggets and Heat have won 14 and 25 straight games, respectively.

Hornets MVP: Lopez was monstrous in the second half, piling up 16 of his 23 points. The 7-footer had one of his best games as a Hornet, registering 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. He also pulled down six offensive boards, converting four of those into his own close-range scores. Lopez finished an efficient 9-for-12 from the field, a performance made more impressive by the fact that New Orleans was facing one of the premier frontcourts in the NBA.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: On a rare night when supersub Ryan Anderson was held to single digits in scoring, point guard Brian Roberts picked up the slack with eight points, including six critical points in the fourth quarter. The 27-year-old NBA rookie delivered baskets in a few key instances, after Memphis had mounted a comeback and threatened to gain the lead on the scoreboard. After a midseason stretch in which Roberts’ playing time was cut – causing Greivis Vasquez to often log 40-plus minutes – he has bounced back with a solid past month-plus of effectiveness.

The buzz on… a big rebounding advantage two games in a row. The common theme between this week’s encouraging victories over Boston and Memphis was a dominating job by New Orleans on the backboards. The Hornets outrebounded the Grizzlies 49-33, two nights after besting the Celtics by a 45-28 margin in that category. “Just playing hard,” assessed Anthony Davis (18 points, 15 rebounds) of the recent improvement in board work. “That’s all it is. Our bigs are rebounding, and our guards are starting to rebound more. We’re all getting in the fight on the glass. It’s tough for teams to get offensive rebounds against us. (Memphis’ Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph) are one of the best duos on the post in the league. We knew it was going to be tough. We did a great job tonight.”