MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Rudy Gay scored 23 points, Marc Gasol added 20 points and 11 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the New Orleans Hornets 108-99 Saturday night.
Mike Conley had 17 points and seven assists, while Marreese Speights and Tony Allen finished with 12 points apiece.
Jarrett Jack led New Orleans with 23 points, while Jason Smith had 15, including 10 in the fourth quarter as the Hornets cut into the lead. Greivis Vasquez scored 14 points and handed out six assists. Marco Belinelli contributed 10 points.
Memphis built a comfortable lead against the New Orleans starters. But the Hornets bench players used a much more aggressive style on both ends of the floor to threaten the Grizzlies' lead.
New Orleans has lost three straight and nine of its last 10.
Memphis had a 17-point lead in the third period, but the Hornets' reserves turned up the offense. The second-teamers were also more active on defense as Memphis began running too much isolation on their end of the floor.
That led to a rally bridging the third and the fourth periods that brought New Orleans within a basket with 7:42 left to play. The Hornets trailed 95-93 with 5:07 left after Jack scored.
But New Orleans could not overtake Memphis as Gay had seven points over a 2-minute span, a 3-pointer with 2:15 left had extended the Memphis lead back to double digits.
The teams were close through the midway point of the second period. The Hornets put together an early rally in the quarter for a nine-point lead.
Memphis answered with a 15-2 run to retake the lead, and when Gay connected on a 3-pointer with 50.8 seconds remaining in the half, it was the game's first double-digit margin at 55-45.
That was part of Memphis outscoring the Hornets 37-23 in the second as the Grizzlies took a 57-47 advantage into the break. Gasol had 15 points, while Gay added 12.
Jack led the Hornets with 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting.
The Grizzlies were 14 of 22 in the second period to build the lead.
Vasquez scored on a layup as the horn sounded at the end of the third, but that only cut the Memphis advantage to 86-75 entering the final frame.
But the Hornets weren't finished with their scoring push with their reserves still in the game. An early 7-0 run in the fourth and the Memphis lead was 86-82.
Smith's 12-footer forced a timeout from Memphis coach Lionel Hollins as the Hornets cut the lead to 93-91.
NOTES: The game meant the return to Memphis of Vasquez, traded to the Hornets on Christmas Eve for G/F Quincy Pondexter. Another former Memphis G, Xavier Henry, obtained by the Hornets in a three-team trade with Memphis was inactive. . Hornets F Chris Kaman was coming off a 0-for-10 shooting night against Minnesota on Friday night. He finished with seven points, hitting 3 of 6 shots. .The Grizzlies became only the second team this season to surpass the 100-point mark against the Hornets. The Philadelphia 76ers were the others on Jan. 4. .Memphis C Hamed Haddadi from Iran said in the locker room before the game that he is still waiting on the paperwork to clear for his return to play.