The Grizzlies came in with a 5-1 record and hadn’t played since Saturday night. The Hornets, meanwhile, were coming off of a 120-113 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night after which they immediately hopped on a plane to Memphis.
None of that mattered on Monday night as the Hornets gutted out a 104-99 victory at FedEx Forum. Charlotte was once again led by Kemba Walker, who poured in 27 points and dished out six assists. Jeremy Lamb continued his solid play and chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds. Malik Monk, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller all scored in double-digits in the victory.
The Hornets played spectacular defense against the Grizzlies as Steve Clifford’s unit held Memphis to 34.4 percent shooting from the field. This included an ugly 8-of-35 performance from 3-point range for the home team.
One factor in the Grizzlies’ offensive struggles was Clifford’s decision to put the bigger Kidd-Gilchrist on Mike Conley. Memphis’ point guard had 16 points on the evening, but only shot 4-of-18 from the field.
Monk and Zeller made huge contributions from the bench for the Hornets. Malik knocked down three of his seven 3-point attempts en route to scoring 13 points in the game. The rookie also added three assists and four rebounds in the most well-rounded game of his young career.
On a night when Dwight Howard struggled, Cody Zeller stepped up in a big way as he poured in 11 points, eight rebounds and blocked three shots in only 18 minutes. His energy was big for the second unit on the second-half of a back-to-back.
The Hornets entered the fourth quarter facing an 82-73 deficit in a game that they had trailed in since the first quarter. Clifford’s guys very easily could’ve folded, but they were relentless and outscored Memphis 31-17 in the fourth.
Charlotte has now won two games in a row and will look to make it three when the team heads back home to play the Milwaukee Bucks at Spectrum Center on Wednesday night. The Bucks defeated the Hornets on October 23 by the score of 103-94. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 14 rebounds in that game.