The Charlotte Hornets assembled a solid bench over the summer, and it sure came in handy Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Hornets fell behind 10-0 three minutes into this game. But a second-quarter surge, built primarily around Charlotte’s reserves, turned it around for a 123-99 victory at FedEx Forum.
Charlotte’s bench outscored Memphis’s reserves 34-10 in the first half. That got the Hornets a five-point halftime lead that they extended to 23 in the third quarter.
Memphis’ big deficit caused Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger to go small in the fourth quarter, pulling big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. That ended up working in the Hornets’ favor, a better matchup for Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky.
The Hornets improved to 14-8. They are on a four-game winning streak, having beaten the Chicago Bulls on the road and Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat at home. All four of those victories were over playoff contenders.
The Hornets are back at Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday for a matchup with the Boston Celtics.
Three who mattered
Kemba Walker: He kept the Hornets in the game in an otherwise terrible first quarter with 13 of his 33 points.
Nic Batum: He followed up a triple-double Wednesday by going 5-of-8 from from the 3-point line Friday.
Jeremy Lin: He did a fine job in the second quarter of forcing the Grizzlies to foul him.
▪ The Grizzlies entered this game with the best giveaway-takeaway ratio in the NBA (-65). Second-best is the Boston Celtics (-64).
▪ Batum’s triple-double Wednesday was the 23rd in Hornets history. Walker is the only other current Hornet with a triple-double while playing for Charlotte. Walker has two in his NBA career.
▪ Good to see small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been cleared to shoot, after October shoulder surgery.
▪ Walker is now third in career 3-pointers made as a Hornet (401 entering the Memphis game), but he’d have a long way to go to reach Dell Curry’s 929.
▪ The Hornets had a 10-1 record entering this game when they lead at the end of the first quarter. They were 2-6 when trailing after one.
▪ The Hornets were in the bonus for more than eight minutes of the second quarter. The Hornets were in the bonus before committing their first foul that period.
▪ A video review of a second-quarter brush-up resulted in a flagrant foul 1 on Charlotte’s Tyler Hansbrough and a technical foul on Memphis’ Marc Gasol.
▪ Grizzlies guard Matt Barnes also received a flagrant foul off a later video review.
A OFFENSE: This was the 10th time this season the Hornets made at least 10 3-pointers. They had nine such games all last season.
B DEFENSE: Predictably they gave up some scoring in the lane, but no one Memphis player had a huge night.
A COACHING: Steve Clifford used his bench well to get back into this game after the early double-digit deficit.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell