Blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead to their division rivals,
the Memphis Grizzlies missed out on a chance to make an early
The Grizzlies have an opportunity to bounce back on Tuesday
night when they host the Phoenix Suns, who will try to avoid a
fourth straight defeat.
While the Spurs’ Big Three were refreshed following two days off
that ultimately cost the team a $250,000 fine, the Grizzlies were
playing the second half of a back-to-back on Saturday night.
Memphis (12-3) led 76-62 with 9:41 to play, but couldn’t hold on
in a 99-95 overtime loss at two-time Southwest Division champ San
“We don’t use any excuses here,” said guard Mike Conley, who
finished with 18 points and 12 assists. “We felt like we had a
chance to win the game regardless of back-to-back or resting.”
The Grizzlies, though, appear to be in a better position against
the Suns (7-11). Since the season opener, they’re 4-0 with at least
two days rest.
The extra time could benefit big man Zach Randolph, who has shot
8 of 29 from the field in his last two games. He’s averaging 18.0
points with a 51.7 field-goal percentage and 12.3 rebounds with at
least two days rest.
After posting double-doubles in his first 11 games of the
season, Randolph has just two in his last four following a
17-point, 15-rebound effort against the Spurs. Rudy Gay finished
with 15 and 10, respectively, for his first double-double of the
Gay played a major role in the team’s only win over Phoenix in
2011-12, scoring 32 points in a 104-93 victory on April 11. He
averaged 23.0 points in the three meetings last season.
Starting guard Tony Allen, who missed the final game against
Phoenix last season because of a facial laceration, is questionable
with a groin injury.
The Grizzlies are tied with Miami for the best record in the
NBA, but they fell to 5-3 against Western Conference opponents.
Still, Memphis will try to continue its franchise-best 8-1 start at
home against a Suns team that is 2-8 on the road.
Phoenix is 1-4 heading into the finale of its six-game road trip
and has lost three in a row following a 106-99 defeat at New York
Goran Dragic, the team’s leading scorer at 15.6 points entering
the contest, finished with a season-low nine against the
Marcin Gortat finished with a team-high 18 points and 10
rebounds for the Suns, who have trailed by double digits in 14 of
their 18 games.
“When you get down 15, 20 points, you kind of need a perfect
storm to come back,” said forward Michael Beasley, who had nine
points. “I feel like we’re relying on that perfect storm in too
many of our games.”
Gortat was one of the biggest reasons Phoenix took two of three
from the Grizzlies last season, averaging 15.7 points and 8.7
rebounds. Jared Dudley, now a bench player for the Suns, totaled 39
points in the two victories over Memphis.
The Suns, though, will have to find a way to improve
defensively. They’ve allowed a league-worst 102.7 points per game,
including 108.0 during their three-game losing streak.
They might have to do it without forward Jermaine O’Neal, the
team’s second-leading shot blocker. O’Neal, who averages 1.7
blocks, could be out for a second straight game due to a right