Regular Season Series (Game 4 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

Hornets 96

(16-53, 5-30 away)

Grizzlies 85

(39-29, 22-12 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, March 26, 2005

    FedExForum, Memphis, TN

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 21 28 29 1896
    MEM 18 18 26 2385

    Top Performers

    NO: J. Smith 33 Pts, 2 Reb

    Mem: L. Wright 12 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Blk

    New Orleans wins first game within division

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The New Orleans Hornets no longer have to worry about being the first team in NBA history to lose every game in their division.

    J.R. Smith scored a career-high 33 points as the Hornets won their first game of the season against a Southwest Division opponent defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 96-85 Saturday night.

    "It's good to get that monkey off our back," said forward P.J. Brown. "We finally got that done. We should have gotten it done a long time ago."

    Smith connected on 13-of-18 shots, including 6-of-9 3-pointers, as the Hornets snapped a four-game losing streak. New Orleans entered the game 0-14 against Southwest opponents.

    New Orleans built the lead to 20 points in the third period-- its biggest lead in any game this season--and coasted home. The 11-point win matched the Hornets' largest victory margin of the season.

    "Fortunately, we were on tonight, and ended up beating a pretty good team," Smith said.

    Brown added 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Hornets. Jamaal Magloire had 10 points and 13 rebounds as New Orleans had a 20-4 advantage in second-chance points.

    "I thought the thing that got us started was our defense," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "We did a much better job of keeping people out of the paint, and then we rebounded the ball. That makes the offense easier when you do those things."

    Brian Cardinal scored 17 points to lead Memphis, but was 5-of-13 from the field, part of a 40 percent Grizzlies shooting performance. Mike Miller added 13 for the Grizzlies, while Lorenzen Wright finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

    The stage was set early for an ugly game. Memphis missed its first five shots, and the Hornets misfired on their initial seven. But Smith got hot, hitting six of his next seven shots.

    "He was unconscious," Brown said of Smith's shooting performance. "I call him World B. Free. He was shooting out of this world. He was feeling good, confident, and he led the charge."

    The play of Memphis point guards Jason Williams and Earl Watson was the ugliest. In the first half, Williams missed his first five shots, while Watson was ineffective trying to replace him. Both turned the ball over twice. The Grizzlies shot 32 percent in the half and missed all six of their 3-point attempts. For the game, Memphis shot a season-low 11.8 percent from outside the arc, hitting only 2 of 17.

    But that wasn't the only standard of futility. Memphis had only nine assists in the game-- a season low and only one more than the franchise record low of eight.

    "That's as telling as any other stat in this game," said Memphis forward Shane Battier. "We didn't shoot a very good percentage, but part of that was because we didn't have a lot of assists. It was one of those bad nights for us."

    The Hornets took advantage of the poor play, building the lead to as much as 16 in the first half before carrying a 49-36 lead into the half. And it didn't get much better after the break as the Grizzlies failed to get the margin under double digits.

    "I was just disappointed in our performance," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "I felt like we were just one step behind in every phase. It wasn't a good performance, and we know that."

    Game notes

    Memphis reserve C Jake Tsakalidis did not dress for his second straight game because of an abscessed tooth. ...Hornets G Speedy Claxton returned after missing the last three games with a sprained left ankle. ...The Hornets are now 2-8 when Smith scores at least 20 points. ...Hornets G Dan Dickau set a career-high with five steals. ...Memphis F James Posey, who has suffered an array of ailments this season, was injured in the fourth quarter when he was fouled hard by Casey Jacobsen, who was called for a flagrant foul. The Grizzlies reported after the game that Posey suffered a right hip contusion and a right shoulder sprain. ...Brown recorded his 26th double-double of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 96 85
    FGM-FGA 36-76 (.474) 27-68 (.397)
    3PM-3PA 8-16 (.500) 2-17 (.118)
    FTM-FTA 16-27 (.593) 29-36 (.806)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-42 12-39
    Assists 21 9
    Turnovers 15 16
    Steals 9 9
    Blocks 3 8
    Fast Break Points 12 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (2/1) 21 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 20 6

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    J.R. Smith Smith
    Points: 33
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Lorenzen Wright Wright
    Points: 12
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2