Hornets begin time at home against reeling Grizzlies
The Charlotte Hornets beat Memphis a little more than a week ago, and things have not gotten better for the Grizzlies since then.
With Grizzlies veterans Mike Conley and Marc Gasol publicly on the trading block, Memphis continues to slide, losing three of four games -- by a total of eight combined points -- since a 118-107 home loss to Charlotte on Jan. 23.
The teams meet Friday night in Charlotte, N.C.
Probably the most painful of those recent defeats for Memphis came Wednesday night, when it gave up an offensive rebound to Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns, who hit a 20-foot turnaround buzzer-beater for a 99-97 decision in overtime.
Overall, Memphis has lost 10 of 11 games and 16 of 18 after a promising start to the season in which it was six games over .500 in late November.
Monday's loss was plenty painful, too, in a different way. The Grizzlies fell 95-92 at home to Denver, coughing up a 25-point advantage, the largest-ever blown lead in franchise history.
What can happen next to the Grizzlies? What will happen next with their veteran stars?
"I have no control over the situation. I have zero control over it," Gasol said earlier this week. "All I can control is how I interact with my teammates, how I work with them and my effort out there.
"The rest, I can't control it, so I can't spend much time thinking about it, even though your mind wanders sometimes - what's going on, what's going to happen? Then you reel it back and are thankful for the things you do have and how great it has been."
While Memphis now has the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 20-32, Charlotte is sitting in the final playoff spot in the East at 24-26. The Hornets start a three-game homestand Friday night.
Gasol had a triple-double -- 22 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists -- when these teams met last week, but Charlotte shot 53.2 percent in the win and got 22 points and seven assists from All-Star starting guard Kemba Walker.
Walker is averaging 24.4 points and 5.6 assists per game.
He had a relatively quiet 21 points and two assists as the Boston Celtics silenced the Hornets 126-94 on Wednesday night. Boston outscored Charlotte 35-16 in a decisive third quarter.
"We just couldn't score (in the third quarter)," said Hornets coach James Borrego. "I thought we got back in the second quarter, more competitive. In the third quarter, just could not find rhythm, could not score the ball, turned it over."
Charlotte is still 5-3 in its past eight games and just completed a month in which it played 10 road games. The Hornets went 3-7 in those 10 road games.
"I thought we did a good job," Borrego said after the game in Boston, talking about all the time away from home in January. "We navigated a tough schedule on the road. I thought we got better overall. This isn't how we wanted it to end, but we get to go home. We have a big game at home on Friday night."
Charlotte is 17-8 at home. The Hornets complete their homestand against the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 31, 2019