Mike Conley doesn’t think the Memphis Grizzlies are perfect at anything, but the New York Knicks are becoming practically flawless at losing.
Conley and the Grizzlies return home seeking a bounce-back performance Monday night, while the Knicks are on the verge of tying their 30-year-old franchise-record losing streak.
Memphis (24-9) has had its Southwest Division lead reduced to just percentage points over second-place Dallas after losing five of eight.
The Grizzlies’ hold on that top spot turned tenuous Saturday, when they missed 12 of 14 from beyond the arc and lost 114-85 at Denver in their most lopsided defeat of the season.
"We’re not a team that’s perfected anything," said Conley, who had eight points after averaging 24.3 during a three-game winning streak. "We’re going to keep learning and keep figuring this thing out as the season goes on."
The Knicks (5-31) are finding things out the hard way, and it’s not pretty. They’ve lost 21 of 22 games, and 11 in a row to move one shy of the team record set at the end of the 1984-85 season.
New York set another dubious record Sunday, losing its 10th straight at home by falling 95-82 to Milwaukee.
"Losing isn’t enjoyable in any way shape or form," coach Derek Fisher said. "From an emotional standpoint, you just have to continue to manage what you can manage, what you can control.
"It’ll turn for us, it just doesn’t look that way right now."
It sure hasn’t over the last four games, as the Knicks have averaged 80.0 points while shooting 36.6 percent from the floor and 65.5 from the line.
Injuries aren’t helping, as New York is without Carmelo Anthony (sore left knee), Amare Stoudemire (sore right knee), Andrea Bargnani (strained right calf) and Iman Shumpert (dislocated left shoulder).
It’s unclear when any of them will be back, but Stoudemire is ruled out for at least the next two games.
"I never thought I’d see this. When I first signed with New York that wasn’t the game plan," Stoudemire said of the Knicks, who own the most losses in the NBA.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had a team-high 17 points against the Bucks after a concussion forced him to miss Friday’s 97-81 loss to Detroit. Hardaway had 23 points off the bench in a 98-93 loss at Memphis on Feb. 18.
The Grizzlies have held the Knicks to 90.3 points per game while winning the last three home matchups, and Conley chipped in with 22 points in the latest.
Zach Randolph has averaged 19.3 points and 11.3 rebounds in four home games against his former team with Memphis, but he’s missed seven games in a row with a sore knee.
There’s still no timetable for a return, and coach Dave Joerger said it’s "hard to tell" when Randolph will be back.
The Grizzlies have lost three of four at home after winning 12 of their first 13.