Jazz-Grizzlies Preview

Having recaptured the formula that led to three consecutive

winning seasons, the Memphis Grizzlies appear to be in good

position to build on the effort.

The short-handed Grizzlies will try to avoid matching their

longest home skid of the season, while the Utah Jazz look to finish

their trip with a winning record Monday night.

Zach Randolph had 25 points and 15 rebounds, and Tony Allen

scored 19 with eight boards to help Memphis (11-15) snap a

five-game losing streak with a 95-87 win at New York on

Saturday.

The last-place Grizzlies, one of the NBA’s top defensive and

rebounding clubs over the past three seasons, returned to that form

by holding a 56-29 advantage on the glass and outscoring the Knicks

60-28 in the paint.

After allowing an average of 104.4 points on 51.1 percent

shooting – 40.8 from 3-point range – during their longest skid

since Nov. 10-19, 2010, they also limited New York to a 41.8

field-goal percentage and 6-of-22 shooting from beyond the arc.

Though Memphis continues to be without Marc Gasol and Tayshaun

Prince because of knee injuries, the team welcomed back leading

scorer Mike Conley from a two-game absence due to a bruised left

thigh. The point guard finished with just nine points on 4-of-18

shooting but contributed eight assists.

“This was going to be a tough one. It is not easy winning here,”

said Conley, averaging 17.8 points and 6.3 assists per game. “For

us to come in and win says a lot. Hopefully this will spark

something for us.”

The Grizzlies need to turn things around at home, where they’ve

dropped nine of 11. They’ve won six of seven there versus the Jazz

(8-22) after holding them to 32.1 percent shooting in an 86-70 win

in the most recent meeting April 17.

Memphis should be able to continue that success against a Utah

team that ranks at or near the bottom of the Western Conference

with 92.7 points per game, a minus-8.8 rebounding differential and

47.7 paint points allowed.

Since losing their first nine road games, the conference-worst

Jazz have won five of their last eight away from home. They have a

chance to wrap up this five-game trip with a winning record

following an 88-85 victory at Charlotte on Saturday.

Trey Burke scored 20 points and his key 3-pointer with 1:38 left

gave Utah the lead. He added two free throws with 10 seconds left

to hold off a late rally by the Bobcats.

The rookie guard has made all the difference on the trip. He has

a combined 50 points and eight 3-pointers in the two victories but

scored five with one 3 in the two losses. The Jazz are 4-1 this

season when he scores at least 20 points.

“We can’t look back. We have some games that looks like a team

that just woke up and games where we’re hungry and coming out with

intensity,” Burke said. “My job is to be a young leader on this

team and bring energy every night.”

While the Jazz have given up an average of 113.7 points on 50.5

percent shooting in their last six losses, they’ve allowed just

86.7 points and a 39.4 field-goal percentage in their last three

victories.

They could have their hands full with Randolph, who has averaged

19.3 points and 13.0 rebounds despite shooting 36.4 percent over

his last four games. He’s also put up 21.3 points and 15.5 boards

per game in his last four against the Jazz.

The Grizzlies have won four of five meetings overall.