The early minutes of the game were marred by the typical preseason follies. The Hornets turned the ball over a bunch and committed several cheap fouls. But through the sloppiness, the Hornets came out looking more assured of their principles. The defensive rotations were crisp. The ball moved on offense. It was the team James Borrego described all offseason. It paid off too. The Hornets went on an 14-4 to close the first quarter, getting buckets from Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, PJ Washington, and Terry Rozier. After one, the Hornets led 28-18.
The second quarter didn’t start as strongly. The Hornets put the Grizzlies on the line several times and struggled to handle Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke drives to the basket. The offense caught fire shortly after, particularly from deep. Zeller, Graham (twice), and Bacon connected on four straight 3-point attempts. They then upped the intensity on the defensive end, getting several deflections and forcing the Grizzlies into tough shots. They built their lead up to 14 points before a Marko Guduric 3-pointer at the buzzer set the halftime score at 58-47.
The third quarter started poorly for the Hornets, much like the second. The Grizzlies capitalized on a struggling Hornets offense to go on a 14-3 run to start the half and tie the game. A Bacon and-1 and a Rozier to Washington alley oop stopped the bleeding. Devonte’ Graham continued his hot shooting with a pair of 3-pointers while Bacon poured in 13 points in the quarter. After three, the Hornets led 90-85.
The Hornets jumped on the Grizzlies to start the fourth quarter. Terry Rozier found Marvin Williams in the corner for three. On the next possession, Rozier used a Willy Hernangomez screen to get free for a 3-pointer of his own while getting fouled in the process. Coming out of the ensuing Grizzlies timeout, Devonte’ Graham found Marvin Williams for another corner three to put the Hornets up 15. The Grizzlies finally got a bucket, but it was quickly followed by another pair of Hornets threes from the hands of Malik Monk and Terry Rozier. The 3-point barrage gave the Hornets a 19 point lead before the Hornets made a fourth quarter shot from inside the arc. In all, the Hornets started the quarter with a 26-4 run before emptying the bench so the two-way players could come in and airball 3-pointers.
The Hornets played the style that we’ve heard about all offseason. The ball moved well and the team played fast. We also saw the Hornets find their shooting range, connecting on over 40% of their 3-point attempts.
PJ Washington scored in double figures for the fourth time in as many games and Malik Monk scored 10 points in the most Malik Monk fashion—a couple of highly impressive baskets mixed in with some cringe-worthy decision making.
The Hornets will look to keep the good times rolling in their final preseason game against the Pistons on Wednesday.