Grizzlies (37-25), Hornets (19-43)
It was over when
Jeremy Pargo drove to the basket for a layup to give Memphis an 84-60 lead late in the third quarter, capping an extremely impressive 12 minutes by the Grizzlies. The hosts trailed by one point at halftime, but outscored New Orleans by a staggering 37-12 margin in the third period. The Hornets, who committed 10 turnovers in what was their poorest-played quarter in April, never seriously threatened the Grizzlies in the fourth. New Orleans headed home immediately afterward, to face Houston in a key game for the Rockets on Thursday in the Crescent City.
Hornets MVP: In his four previous games with New Orleans, point guard Jerome Dyson had shown that his biggest strength is the ability to dribble past defenders and get into the lane for layups. He put that skill to use to the nth degree Wednesday in Tennessee, going to the foul line a total of 16 times. The NBA rookie sank 14 of those tosses, resulting in a career-high 24-point game. He went 5-for-7 from the field.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Like Dyson, despite the Hornets falling into a big hole in the second half, Carl Landry continued to work hard at the offensive end, drawing fouls and capitalizing by making his free throws. The Purdue product was 8-for-9 at the charity stripe, accounting for half of 16 points. Honorable mention went to Darryl Watkins, who in his first official NBA game since 2007-08 grabbed a career-best 13 rebounds, including six offensive boards.
The buzz on
wrapping up the 2011-12 season, position-by-position, starting with point guard. Wednesdays visit to face his old team wasnt one of Greivis Vasquezs finest moments (9 assists, but 7 turnovers) this season, but the Maryland product made significant strides over the course of his second pro year. Playing with a pass-first mentality, Vasquez was in the starting lineup during the Hornets two longest winning streaks of the year, including the four-game stretch that ended in Memphis tonight. Meanwhile, prior to a season-ending stress fracture in his foot, Jarrett Jack put up career-high statistics in virtually every major category. After longtime Hornets franchise player Chris Paul was traded less than two weeks before the Dec. 26 season opener, Jack had enormous shoes to fill, but did a commendable job providing scoring for a team that desperately needed it (particularly with Eric Gordon sidelined for all but seven games). Dyson was signed late in the year and showed flashes of offensive excellence, causing Monty Williams to suggest that the UConn product might be part of New Orleans summer program, such as participating in Las Vegas summer league.