Hornets.com postgame: Grizzlies 108, Hornets 99

Saturday, January 14, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Grizzlies (5-6), Hornets (3-9)

It was over when… Greivis Vasquez was whistled for a charging foul with 31 seconds remaining and New Orleans trailing 105-97. The offensive foul capped a critical stretch in which the Hornets’ offense went just 2-for-8 from the field after getting within striking distance of the Grizzlies. New Orleans, which dropped its third straight game, returns to the court in less than 48 hours for Monday’s home afternoon holiday contest vs. Portland. Memphis' 108 points was the most by a New Orleans opponent in 2011-12 and only the second time the Hornets have allowed 100-plus in a game.

Hornets MVP: Jarrett Jack carried the Hornets for a big chunk of the game, at one stage scoring 21 of their 65 total points midway through the third quarter. Jack finished 8-for-14 from the field and 6-for-6 from the foul line to register a team-best 23 points. The Georgia Tech product has been superb on free throws this season, at 32-for-35 (91.4 percent).

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: There were multiple deserving candidates, including Jason Smith, Vasquez and Gustavo Ayon. Give the nod to Smith, who was relied upon heavily and notched 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. New Orleans’ starting bigs did not play much in the second half with Smith faring so well. Center Emeka Okafor logged 21 minutes, while Chris Kaman played 16 minutes.

The buzz on… an unusual collection of players in crunch time. Over the first three weeks of the regular season, Monty Williams has often doled out playing time based on how players have performed earlier in a given game. Williams took that approach extensively again Saturday. As the Hornets tried to come back in the fourth quarter against the Grizzlies, Williams rewarded three second-unit players for their game-long efforts. Jack and DaJuan Summers were the only starters on the court during that span – and Summers just joined the starting group Friday – along with reserves Vasquez, Ayon and Smith. The best gauge of the difference in effectiveness between the first string and the backups Saturday came in the plus-minus numbers. All five starters finished the game in the negatives, while Trey Johnson and Ayon were plus-12 and plus-10, respectively. Vasquez and Smith also finished above even in plus-minus.