Charlotte Hornets

Grizzles grab win from Hornets 113-107 in 2OT

Lots of crazy, unfortunate things had to happen for the Charlotte Hornets to lose to the Memphis Grizzlies in double-overtime 113-107.

But here was the craziest, most unfortunate, part:

The Hornets led 102-99 with 23 seconds left in the first overtime. All they had to do was avoid an open 3-pointer, and they would have the sort of gemstone upset that has eluded them so far this season.

The Grizzlies were passing the ball along the perimeter. It got to center Marc Gasol, who'd made two long jump shots earlier in the overtime.

Hornets shooting guard Gerald Henderson went out to contest Gasol's potential shot. Way too far, and far too committed.

"We trapped (point guard) Mike Conley on the screen-and-roll. They kicked it back to Gasol," Henderson described. "He was open and I went to him. I really shouldn't have gone to him. That's not his shot.

"That put us in rotation. When you do that somebody has to be open Mike (Kidd-Gilchrist) made a decision and (Vince) Carter made the 3."

A wide-open 3 from the left baseline, like Carter was alone in a practice gym.

That forced the second overtime, where Conley hit four free throws in the final 21 seconds to secure another victory for the 18-4 Grizzlies.

Meanwhile the Hornets are 6-16, having been swept now by the Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers, leaders in their respective divisions of the Western Conference.

What should Henderson have done instead?

"Just stunted at him - either make his shoot it with the clock running down or get it to someone else quickly," Henderson said. "A bad decision on my part."

Actually the Hornets never would have been in position to win in overtime had Henderson not made a great play at the end of regulation. His tip-in at the buzzer, after point guard Kemba Walker (28 points and seven assists) missed a jump shot, extended this game.

"Kemba shot it, Gary (Neal) got in there and a tapped it up on the backboard and I was free," Henderson said. "I wouldn't say it was a lucky play, but it was right place right time. They're a pretty good block-out team, but when Gary got his hand on the ball it happened to come my way."

The Hornets came oh-so-close to a three-game winning streak and a trophy victory. They overcame a 12-point first-half deficit and led by as many as seven points in the second half.

They did a solid job of containing Memphis' twin inside forces, Gasol and Zach Randolph, for much of this game. Those two, a nightmare for a smallish Hornets roster, combined to shoot just 7-of-19 through three quarters.

And the offense perked up a bit. Neal, back from a left shoulder contusion, scored a season-high 25 points. He also fed power forward Cody Zeller for a layup with 32 seconds left in the first overtime that gave the Hornets the lead.

But Neal also missed two of three free throws late in the second overtime with his team fighting back from a five-point deficit.

"The group that was in late in the fourth and in overtime gave us more offensive force," said Hornets coach Steve Clifford. "With (an opponent) like that, you have to; you have to aggressive, you have screen well, cut well.

"When we did that, we had good possessions and that's what it takes to beat a team like that."

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