Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
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NEW ORLEANS ― Jarrett Jack did just about everything he possibly could Wednesday night to keep the Hornets in range of upsetting the Grizzlies.
He scored 27 points, including 12 on 4 of 4 from beyond the arc. He also had eight assists and three rebounds.
And still New Orleans lost, falling to Memphis 93-87.
Memphis (7-6) finished the game shooting 49.3 percent, including 13 of 16 in the first quarter and though the Hornets did tie the game, they could never get over the hump.
Jack hit a fade-away 12-footer with 1:28 to play, pulling New Orleans within 87-85.
On the other end, the Hornets (3-11) got the stop they needed, too, forcing a bad shot from underneath by Memphis’ O.J. Mayo.
But Mayo got the rebound, missed the putback and the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol rebounded. After a foul, Mayo missed another open shot, only to have Gasol rebound the loose ball again.
New Orleans fouled Mike Conley, who hit the front end of the pair before missing the second. But a lane violation by Jason Smith gave Conley another chance and he made it, putting the Hornets down 91-85 with 24 seconds to play.
The six points were too much for the Hornets to overcome as Memphis hit four consecutive free throws to put the game away.
The Hornets shot 48.6 percent from the floor and hit 14 of 16 free throws. But turnovers were a problem again, this time 18, which turned into 17 Memphis points.
Trevor Ariza had 18 points in his return after an eight-game injury stay on the bench, going 7 of 13 in 40 minutes. Jason Smith added 14 points and Marco Belinelli added 10.
Down seven at halftime, New Orleans opened with a 7-0 run to tie the game at 55 early in the third quarter. But Memphis answered with a 7-0 run itself.
Again the Hornets fought back, pulling to within 70-67 with: 58 seconds to play in the third quarter and there was hope that New Orleans had figured out its second-half woes.
But a 14-5 Memphis run, fueled by a Marc Gasol dunk, pushed the Hornets to brink of extinction for the night.
Only, Jack wasn’t going to let New Orleans go down without a fight.
He drilled a 25-foot 3-pointer with 5:33 to play, making it 84-75. O.J. Mayo responded with a 3 of his own but the Hornets were on a roll.
Smith hit two free throws, Ariza hit a long jumper, Jack converted a layup and then a 19-footer and, with 2:49 to go, the Hornets were down only 87-83.
That set up the exciting finish that fell just short.
Gasol led Memphis with 22 points, Conley added 18 and Mayo had 16 off the bench.