Grizzlies-Nets Preview

The Memphis Grizzlies overcame a large deficit in their last

game, only to run out of steam. They seem unlikely to face a

similar situation against the NBA-worst New Jersey Nets.

The Grizzlies try again to shake their recent struggles when

they visit the Nets on Sunday.

Memphis (27-27) lost 100-87 in double overtime to Miami on

Friday. The Grizzlies managed to overcome an early 18-point deficit

but were outscored 15-2 in the final period.

“Once we got to the second overtime, we were buzz-killed,” coach

Lionel Hollins said. “That was more of what led to the loss than

just (Miami) making shots and us having turnovers. We had no more

left in our tank.”

The Grizzlies have dropped eight of 10 to fall out of playoff

position after a 15-4 run. They have endured a drastic decrease in

offensive production over that 10-game span, scoring 95.3 points

per game after averaging 106.7 in the previous 19.

Zach Randolph leads Memphis with 20.4 points and 11.8 rebounds a

contest, but his production has waned. The power forward had 16

points and 19 rebounds Friday, but has shot 44.3 percent from the

floor and averaged 18.0 points and 12.6 boards in the past 10

games. He hit 52.0 percent of his shots and averaged 24.5 points

and 13.6 rebounds during the 15-4 stretch.

Randolph and the Grizzlies may have an ideal chance to regain

their offensive spark against New Jersey (5-50), which has dropped

six in a row at home and is giving up 101.2 points per game to rank

near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

The Grizzlies, though, were swept by the Nets last season.

Memphis lost 100-89 at the Izod Center on Jan. 7, 2009.

“We’re going to come out and treat (the Nets) like any other

team,” said guard Mike Conley, who had 10 points and seven assists

against the Heat. “We’re going to get a win. We need a win. We let

one slip away (Friday). We played hard. We’re going to go to New

Jersey and try to come with the same mental focus we had

tonight.”

Memphis, though, will be without recently acquired swingman

Ronnie Brewer, who suffered a partially torn right hamstring Friday

and will be out indefinitely. A timetable for his return will be

set after an evaluation next week.

Brewer, injured a day after being acquired from Utah for a

first-round draft pick, is averaging 9.3 points.

The Nets failed to take advantage of a short-handed opponent

Friday, losing 106-89 to a Toronto team missing All-Star Chris

Bosh. Despite his absence, the Raptors shot 59.7 percent.

“Any time your opponent shoots 60 percent for the game, you’re

not going to have much of a chance to win,” interim coach Kiki

Vandeweghe said.

Devin Harris has been providing some offensive punch for the

Nets, averaging 19.8 points and 9.0 assists in his last eight games

after missing the previous four with a sprained right wrist.

The guard had 17 points and eight assists to help New Jersey to

a 99-88 victory over Memphis on Jan. 24, 2009.