Hornets need hot shooting against Grizzlies

NBA Basketball
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The Charlotte Hornets are aware that they’re capable of being a strong shooting team from the perimeter.

But they also must acknowledge that there will be games when their 3-point percentage isn’t good enough to carry the team. In those situations, it’s important that they uncover solutions.

They might have a chance to do that Sunday night when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, Tenn.

The Hornets have lost five of their last six games (and four in a row), so they’ve come across another rough patch. The Hornets will keep on launching the 3-point shots, because that often ends up being their most productive plan of attack.

“We’d like to make all those threes, but I thought we had great looks,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said.

He was referring to Friday night’s overtime loss to Oklahoma City, when the Hornets recovered from a 1-for-19 hit rate in the first half to finish 7-for-39 from deep.

Charlotte has become so reliant on perimeter scoring that it often doesn’t explore other options on offense on a consistent enough basis.

“We have to do a better job feeding the post,” Borrego said.

In the loss to Oklahoma City, it became so bizarre in overtime that rookie forward P.J. Washington ended up intentionally missing a free throw after his first attempt of the two-shot foul was missed with the Hornets trailing by two points with 1.9 seconds to play.

The Grizzlies are coming off a 119-110 loss Saturday at Denver. Memphis managed only 39 first-half points in that game, in part because the Grizzlies missed 20 of their first 25 shots.

Somehow Memphis was able to pull back into the game, but unable to complete the comeback.

“Our guys are continuing to get better,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “The competitiveness is there every single night.”

The Hornets certainly know how that takes place. The Hornets have strung together good stretches only to see the good deeds go by the wayside when those can’t be sustained.

“Breakdowns defensively and a few turnovers,” Borrego said.

One thing that the Hornets need is to maintain a pace that helps them avoid some of the pitfalls associated with a physical presence from opponents.

When things are going well for the Hornets, it’s often because guard Terry Rozier has been clicking.

“Terry drove a lot of that,” Borrego said when the Hornets dictate the pace.

The Grizzlies defeated Charlotte 119-117 on Nov. 13 in Charlotte. In that loss, Rozier racked up 33 points for the Hornets.

Jaren Jackson Jr. has led the Grizzlies in scoring in four of the past five games, registering anywhere from 18 to 24 points in each of those games. Jackson was a college teammate of Charlotte’s Miles Bridges when they were at Michigan State.

For the season, rookie guard Ja Morant is the top scorer for Memphis with 17.9 points per game.

This month, the Grizzlies hold a 7-8 record. Memphis has won three of its last four home games, a stretch that has followed a seven-game home losing streak.

–Field Level Media

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