Hornets Seeking Cleaner Play, First Preseason Win in Memphis

by Sam Perley

The Charlotte Hornets will get another stab at their first preseason victory of the year as they’ll make a short trip west to face the Memphis Grizzlies beginning tonight at 8 PM EST.

Turnover issues reared their ugly head again in the team’s 100-87 loss to Philadelphia on Friday night in Winston-Salem, resulting in 23 giveaways on the night and now 67 overall for the preseason. With a much younger core taking the reins on a new offensive system, the Hornets cannot afford to let ball security become a long-term problem.

“It’s something we’ve got to continue to look at,” said Head Coach James Borrego after the game. “This is a new group playing together for the first time, playing with more pace, multiple guys touching it. We’re going to have to clean up that area. I don’t know if it will be an issue or not. It has been in the preseason so far, but we’ve got to take care of the ball this season.”

PJ Washington (13.0 PPG on 70.0% shooting), Dwayne Bacon (12.3), Terry Rozier (12.3) and Caleb Martin (11.3) have been Charlotte’s four leading scorers through the opening three exhibition games. Washington currently ranks tied for eighth amongst all NBA rookies in preseason scoring, while the undrafted Martin is 12th.

An overhauled Memphis squad took Murray State point guard Ja Morant and Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke in the draft, shortly after trading the franchise’s all-time leading-scorer Mike Conley to Utah. The Grizzlies are 2-0 in the preseason with wins over Maccabi Haifa (Israel) and the New Zealand Breakers.

Notes: Nicolas Batum (right Achilles’ soreness) and Cody Martin (sprained right ankle) are out for the Hornets… Center Jonas Valančiūnas (sore foot) and guard De’Anthony Melton (back) will not play for Memphis.


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