Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 1/7

Game 1: Friday, January 7th
Game 2: Monday, January 31st
Game 3: Wednesday, March 16th
Game 4: Saturday, March 26th

Grizzlies 88

(37-27, 16-17 away)

Hornets 82

(14-49, 11-21 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, March 16, 2005

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 25 22 20 2188
    NO 19 18 28 1782

    Top Performers

    Mem: J. Posey 20 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl

    NO: B. Nachbar 19 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Watson's 3 puts Memphis ahead to stay

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- By simplifying his game, James Posey broke out of his scoring slump, giving the undermanned Memphis Grizzlies just enough firepower to outlast the New Orleans Hornets.

    Posey scored 20 points and Earl Watson 16 as Memphis emerged with an 88-82 triumph Wednesday night.

    "I was trying to stay positive with my shot selection. I tried to take a lot of easy shots," Posey said. "You know it's about rhythm, and that is something I had tonight."

    Watson scored seven of his points late in the fourth quarter, hitting a 3-pointer for the 12th and final lead change of a tight final period. He followed that with a long jumper that made it 84-80 with under two minutes remaining.

    "He hit some tough shots -- one jumper over me -- so I give him a lot of credit because he stepped up and got it done," said Hornets forward P.J. Brown, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds.

    Brian Cardinal added 14 points and Lorenzen Wright 11 for the Grizzlies, who played more than half the game without Mike Miller, who was in foul trouble.

    The Grizzlies also were without Jason Williams (right ankle), Stromile Swift (left ankle), Bonzi Wells (back) and Pau Gasol (left foot).

    "That's what's special about this team. We have a group of guys who are willing to work hard," Posey said. "We're not worried about who's a star, who has the most points. It's about winning and we have guys who step up -- a different guy on different nights."

    Reserve Bostjan Nachbar led New Orleans with 19 points, while J.R. Smith added 11. Jamaal Magloire, returning from a fractured right ring finger that kept him out for 51 games, had 10 rebounds and five points in 25 minutes.

    Memphis led 52-37 early in the third period before Dan Dickau, who had missed his first four shots, sparked a 12-0 run with a 3-pointer, followed by three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt. Shortly after, Nachbar made his second and third 3-pointers of the game, giving the Hornets their first lead, 59-58.

    Memphis finished the quarter with a 67-65 lead, however, after Posey, who scored 10 of the Grizzlies' last 12 points of the period, stole a pass from Brown and drove more than half the court for a score.

    "We were there, but they've got players who've been through a lot of different close games and they didn't change their approach," Dickau said. "We've got so many young players and we're all gaining a lot of experience, but there comes a time when you're competitive and you want to win these games. You want to see the fruit of your hard work start to come."

    With Miller and Shane Battier (10 points) in foul trouble, Memphis needed the production from Posey, who missed much of February with a right Achilles strain and had scored only two and five points in his last two games.

    "To me, by far, since I've been here, that was James Posey's best game. He was exceptional," said Mike Fratello, who took over as coach in December after Hubie Brown stepped down. "James has been coming off injuries. He's battled back ... trying to get his stamina back. Without James tonight, we were just not there at the end. James kept us in the game. He just found a way to make a basket when we needed it."

    The Hornets outrebounded Memphis 43-34 and had 22 second-chance points, but shot only 37.7 percent from the field. Memphis shot 47.9 percent and scored 17 points on 16 Hornets turnovers.

    The Grizzlies, who shot 52 percent in a victory Monday over Portland, hit 49 percent of their first-half shots in building an early lead. Cardinal's putback capped a 15-4 run that put Memphis ahead 34-21 in the second quarter.

    The lead remained in double digits for much of the half as Watson made four of his first five shots, including a 3-pointer that made it 47-34 before the Hornets cut their deficit to 47-37 at halftime.

    Game notes

    Brown's defensive rebound early in the opening quarter made him the Hornets' all-time leading rebounder. He now has 3,491. He passed Larry Johnson, who had 3,479 rebounds from 1991 to 1996. "It's something I will cherish and am very proud of," Brown said. ... Brown also had his team-high 24th double-double. ... Memphis shot 58.8 percent (10-of-17) in the first quarter in opening a 25-19 lead. ... Cardinal, a fifth-year pro, had eight rebounds to pass the 500 mark. He now has 505.


    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 88 82
    FGM-FGA 34-71 (.479) 29-77 (.377)
    3PM-3PA 6-13 (.462) 7-16 (.438)
    FTM-FTA 14-22 (.636) 17-25 (.680)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-34 15-43
    Assists 19 19
    Turnovers 14 16
    Steals 11 6
    Blocks 4 4
    Fast Break Points 12 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 15 1

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    James Posey Posey
    Points: 20
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Bostjan Nachbar Nachbar
    Points: 19
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0