Charlotte Hornets

Off great defense, Charlotte Hornets clobber Memphis Grizzlies

Charlotte’s Spencer Hawes (00) and Nic Batum double-team Memphis center Marc Gasol (33). The Hornets won 104-85 in Memphis.
Charlotte’s Spencer Hawes (00) and Nic Batum double-team Memphis center Marc Gasol (33). The Hornets won 104-85 in Memphis. AP

The Charlotte Hornets owed the Memphis Grizzlies one after being thoroughly embarrassed by that team in Charlotte recently.

This time it was the Hornets’ turn. They led by as many as 23 points in the third quarter en route to a 104-85 victory at Fed Ex Forum.

The victory was the Hornets’ second in a row, following a four-game losing streak. It improved them to 10-7. Considering the Grizzlies (11-7) had won seven of their previous eight, this was probably the most impressive victory of the season.

Jeremy Lamb and Kemba Walker led the Hornets in scoring with 21 points each.

This game was sufficiently in hand that coach Steve Clifford inserted deep reserves Brian Roberts and Treveon Graham with less than four minutes left.

Three who mattered

Frank Kaminsky: He reached 10 points for the sixth consecutive game.

Jeremy Lamb: Back-to-back big-time performances off Charlotte’s bench.

Spencer Hawes: Did a solid job anchoring the middle of the Hornets’ defense.

Observations

▪  Shooting guard Nic Batum, who missed Saturday’s home victory against the New York Knicks with an eye injury, started against the Grizzlies.

▪  Reserve guard-forward Marco Belinelli, who missed part of the Knicks game because of hamstring soreness, was cleared to play in Memphis.

▪  Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph missed Monday’s game following his mother’s death on Thanksgiving Day.

▪  Lamb’s 18-point, 17-rebound performance against the Knicks was just the 12th time an NBA guard posted those numbers. Among those who reached those marks are Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and James Harden.

▪  Belinelli is averaging 1.9 3-point baskets per game. Only one other reserve in the NBA – Cleveland’s Channing Frye – averages more 3s made.

Worth mentioning

▪  The Grizzlies entered this game as one of the NBA’s hottest teams, having won seven of their previous eight.

▪  The Hornets held the Grizzlies to 39 points and 35 percent shooting during the first half.

▪  Grizzlies center Marc Gasol was charged with a technical foul for elbowing Cody Zeller early in the second half.

Report card

B+ OFFENSE: It was very effective getting to the foul line, which isn’t easy on the road.

A DEFENSE: Holding the Grizzlies to 60 points in the first three quarters was impressive.

A COACHING: As well as the Grizzlies have played of late, this was quite a road performance.

Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell

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