Hornets.com postgame: Grizzlies 85, Hornets 80

Monday, February 9, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

New Orleans' two-game win streak without Chris Paul and several other key Hornets came to an end in Memphis, largely due to two glaring shortcomings: shooting and rebounding.
The Grizzlies held the Hornets to just 29.5 percent shooting from the field - a franchise record-low in the team's 21 seasons. Memphis also outrebounded its guests by a staggering 64-38 margin. Given those statistics, it was a considerable feat for the Hornets (30-19) to hang close deep into this contest. New Orleans was within three in the final 30 seconds, but Marc Gasol snared one of the Grizzlies' 20 offensive rebounds and was immediately fouled. Gasol sank one of his two free throws to make it a two-possession game and give the hosts some breathing room.
Twenty-four hours after the Hornets received timely contributions from role players such as Rasual Butler, Sean Marks and Devin Brown against the Timberwolves, New Orleans struggled to find any consistent offensive punch. Peja Stojakovic (23 points, 7-for-22 field goals) was the lone Hornet in double figures through three quarters. None of the starters made as many as half their field-goal attempts, combining to go 14-for-57 (24 percent).
The Grizzlies, who were playing without second-leading scorer Rudy Gay and point guard Kyle Lowry, led for the majority of the evening but couldn't shake the Hornets. Memphis snapped a seven-game head-to-head losing streak against its Southwest Division counterparts, a streak that dated back to the 2006-07 campaign.
New Orleans heads home for Wednesday's 7 p.m. game against Boston, the first-half finale for the Hornets. There is still no word on whether Paul or Tyson Chandler will be available against the defending NBA champions, but David West will return after serving tonight's one-game suspension.

Byron Scott

On the loss:
“It all boiled down to us getting stops, and we couldn’t get them. Anytime you give a team 20 offensive rebounds in a game you’re going to be at a disadvantage. We didn’t shoot well and they (Grizzlies) didn’t shoot well. We did a terrible job on the defensive boards, and they just killed us. It’s not the first time we have addressed this. We have to get tougher, that’s the bottom line. You just can’t give those types of opportunities to a team because sooner or later it will catch up to you. Defense is always about effort. It has nothing to do with size and height and athleticism, it has to do with determination. That’s the bottom line with rebounding. We have to have a “go and get it” type attitude. I thought they had that for 48 minutes and we didn’t do a good job of matching their intensity. Sixty-eight of their 85 points came off points that were basically in the paint, and a lot of that was off rebounding and breaking us down on defense.”
On the upcoming game vs. Boston:
“It would be nice to have all our guys back. I’m looking forward to having those guys back as soon as possible, but I’m not going to jeopardize them for one game. If they’re healthy and ready to go, then they’ll play.”

Peja Stojakovic
On the loss:
“We had to be aggressive and I think we showed enough, but we just didn’t shoot the ball well. We allowed a lot of points in the paint and a lot of free throws. There were a couple of crucial possessions that they got a long rebound and those are key. Things just didn’t go our way and we have to play through it. We can’t feel sorry about it; we just have to come back and go out and play. I was just being aggressive tonight. I wanted to do the best possible things for my team. We just didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight.

Devin Brown
On the upcoming game vs. Boston:
“Hopefully we’ll have some guys back for the Boston game. They’re a tough road team and we know they have fire, and we just have to match their intensity.

Julian Wright
On the loss:
“We knew in our gameplan who we would have out there, so we can’t make excuses in terms of who we’re missing. We just have to go out there and stick to our principles. We didn’t do a good job of keeping them out of the paint and they got a lot of easy looks. We fought hard and stuck it out, but the ball just didn’t bounce our way late. A few different bounces and we could have won this game.”

West suspended for tonight's game in Memphis

Hours before tip-off of tonight's 7 p.m. game at Memphis, the Hornets learned that All-Star power forward David West will not be available. West has been suspended for one game, due to his flagrant foul-type 2 on Minnesota's Mike Miller last night.

After a season-high four-game losing streak, New Orleans (30-18) has won two straight games without starters Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler, or reserve Morris Peterson. West missed the final 2 1/2 quarters of Sunday's win vs. the Timberwolves after being ejected.