Four takeaways from the Charlotte Hornets road victory over the Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, TN - OCTOBER 30: Jarell Martin
MEMPHIS, TN - OCTOBER 30: Jarell Martin /

The Charlotte Hornets came back from 10 down with eight minutes to play to pull away late as they won their second game in a row, 104-99.

The Memphis Grizzlies and the Charlotte Hornets went back and forth throughout most of the game but a late-game push led by Kemba Walker put them in front. Charlotte won both games in a back to back against the top teams in both conferences. The Hornets are now one game above .500 with a 4-3 record on the year.

Kemba is Elite

Kemba Walker once again led the Hornets in scoring with 27 points in 29 minutes on 15 shot attempts. He is the 5th leading scorer among starting guards in the NBA with 24.4 points per game and has scored at least 24 in five of seven games.

Walker is currently 3rd in the NBA in 4th quarter points among players who have played at least two games, with 8.4 a game. He scored 12 of his 27 in the fourth quarter truly earning the nickname “Cardiac Kemba.”  Kemba has improved significantly every year since 2015 and now Walker is among the NBA elite.

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Defensive Battle

These are two of the top defensive teams in the league. The Grizzlies rank 5th in NBA in defensive rating and the Hornets rank 6th following last nights game. They are ranked 1st and 2nd in opponent field goal percentage.

Charlotte ranks 4th in opponent three-point percentage while Memphis ranks 7th. No team had even shot over 40% against Memphis before the Charlotte shot just 41.6%. The Hornets held the Grizzlies to just 34.4% from the floor and 22.9% from behind the arc. Defense is clearly what these two teams hang their hat on.

Bench Production

During the first half, the Grizzlies bench outscored the Hornets bench 28-16, but in the second half, the Hornets bench turned things around. In particular, Malik Monk who was 1-8 in the first half went 4-7 in the second scoring 10 of his 13 and Cody Zeller scored seven points to go along with five boards in the second half.

Dwayne Bacon has continued to struggle shooting the basketball and has now fallen to 30% for the season after going just 1-7 shooting against the Grizzlies.

Frank Kaminsky played well off the bench scoring nine points in just under 23 minutes after missing the previous game due to illness.

Dwight v Marc

Dwight Howard had his first game without double-digit rebounds. The main reason was that Marc Gasol was consistently pulling him away from the rim as Howard has to respect his jump shot (36% from deep). Other guys on the team stepped up as Marvin Williams and Jeremy Lamb had eight rebounds each.

Neither Gasol or Howard had a good night shooting the ball as they defended each other well. Howard finished with just two points on 1-9 shooting and 0-2 from the free throw line. Gasol went 4-15 from the field scoring just 10 points.

Next: Charlotte's keys to 45 wins

The Grizzlies and Hornets won’t play again until March 22nd in Charlotte. The Charlotte Hornets will play their second game of the season against the Milwaukee Bucks at home on Wednesday before they go on a 4 game road trip.