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
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
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.