Suns look to get back to winning in Memphis
While he isn’t the biggest of names, newcomer Brandan Wright gives the Phoenix Suns a needed body down low.
The Memphis Grizzlies are reportedly close to adding a key piece, too.
Wright could be in uniform as soon as Sunday as the visiting Suns try to snap a five-game losing streak against the Grizzlies.
Phoenix (22-17) is allowing an average of 46.9 points in the paint and 11.9 offensive rebounds per game to rank near the bottom of the NBA in both categories. The 6-foot-10 Wright should provide a large presence in the key after coming over from Boston in exchange for a protected first-round pick Friday.
Wright, who landed in Boston as part of last month’s trade that sent Rajon Rondo to Dallas, is shooting an NBA-leading 72.4 percent among all players with at least 150 attempts. He’s also averaging 3.8 blocks per 48 minutes for one of the league’s better marks.
In a statement announcing the trade, general manager Ryan McDonough said Wright’s "length, athleticism and finishing ability make him a great fit for our style of play.
"He is one of the most efficient scorers in the league, and his shot-blocking ability will help anchor our defense."
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, appear to be close to acquiring Wright’s former Celtics teammate Jeff Green, who’s averaging what would be a career-best 17.6 points.
Memphis (25-11) could certainly use an offensive boost after averaging 92.8 points during a 1-3 slide. The Grizzlies return home after falling 96-86 at Atlanta on Wednesday and 106-95 at New Orleans on Friday.
Mike Conley and Marc Gasol scored 19 points apiece against the Pelicans, but Zach Randolph was the only player to reach double figures for Memphis with 11. The veteran forward also added 11 rebounds in his first game back after missing nine with a knee issue.
"We want to be consistent with our scheme, with our effort, with our execution – we’re neither of those," said Gasol, whose team has dropped seven of 11. "Without that, it’s hard to win games. It’s really, really hard."
Memphis could like its chances of bouncing back against a Suns team it’s limited to an average of 92.6 points in winning all five matchups since the start of last season. Phoenix is averaging 106.3 points against all other teams over that span.
The Grizzlies took this season’s first meeting 102-91 at Phoenix on Nov. 5 behind Conley’s 24 points and 11 assists.
Conley is averaging 23.0 points on 59.1 percent shooting to go along with 8.3 assists during a three-game stretch against the Suns.
Phoenix should also be concerned about Randolph, who’s averaging 23.1 points on 60.0 percent shooting and 12.9 boards in his last 11 in the series.
The Suns had won four straight and 10 of 12 before falling 100-95 at San Antonio on Friday. Phoenix held a 29-3 edge in transition but was outscored 50-32 in the paint.
"You saw the times that we drove it in there, you get a shorter shot or you get fouled," coach Jeff Hornacek said. "But they want to live by the jumper or die by the jumper, I guess. These guys think they can make every shot, but if you don’t, you lose."
Eric Bledsoe had 19 points and 10 assists for the Suns, who took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter before getting outscored 41-26.
Phoenix, 5-9 on the road against fellow Western Conference foes, has dropped five of its last six visits to Memphis.