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Memphis at New Orleans

Hornets nip Grizzlies behind newcomers

CBSSports.com wire reports

NEW ORLEANS -- Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman didn't miss a step in their debuts for the New Orleans Hornets.

Kaman scored 18 points and Eric Gordon added 17 in their first game with New Orleans, leading the Hornets to a 95-80 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.

Gordon and Kaman both came over in the Dec. 14 trade that sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Though it was only a preseason game, Hornets coach Monty Williams came away with a good feeling.

"Don't want to get too excited about anything now but at the same time, if we compete like that, we give ourselves a chance to win games," he said.

Quincy Pondexter had 14 points with 12 rebounds for New Orleans.

The Grizzlies started quickly, jumping to a 28-17 lead on 80 percent shooting, but the Hornets clamped down on defense and limited Memphis to 37.8 percent for the game.

"We're going to be a team this year that can't make too many mistakes, limited turnovers, we're going to have to play really good defense," Gordon said. "We've definitely got to be one of the top defensive teams to be a winning team or playoff team."

Gordon and Pondexter started the comeback late in the first quarter, with the point guard assisting the second-year forward on a close-range shot that opened an 11-0 run that blossomed into a 35-31 second-quarter lead.

The Hornets never trailed again.

"I think that we came out with good focus, good energy," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "Our conditioning is not where it needs to be and we just have to improve our work ethic as we move forward and our focus to where we can get to be a good team. We are not a very good team right now."

Before tipoff, Williams said he would be looking to see how quickly the newcomers had picked up his defensive sets. Afterward, he said he saw mistakes but that the efforts of Gordon and Kaman nearly made up for the issues.

"Even when we gave up a shot, we contested a shot and then somebody was there to pick up the rebound, especially after that first quarter when we gave up a bunch of offensive rebounds," Williams said.

Rudy Gay scored 20 points and Zach Randolph had 15 for Memphis.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Chris Kaman goes up strong for two of his 18 points in his first appearance for the Hornets. (Getty Images)
Chris Kaman goes up strong for two of his 18 points in his first appearance for the Hornets. (Getty Images)
Memphis (0-2)2817161980
New Orleans (2-0) «2629211995
MEM: Pts
MEM: Reb
MEM: Ast
NO: Pts
NO: Reb
NO: Ast

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