Wizards-Grizzlies Preview

Playing at home has hardly been advantageous for the Memphis

Grizzlies over the last several years. Even during those struggles,

though, they’ve been able to count on a win there against the

Washington Wizards.

On Monday night, the Grizzlies look to win their fifth straight

at FedExForum over the Wizards, who hope Gilbert Arenas’ first game

in Memphis in more than three years will end a losing streak

there.

Memphis (13-16), which has totaled 44 home wins over the

previous three seasons, is looking to win four straight there for

the first time since Dec. 5-14, 2008. The Grizzlies, though, had

their three-game run snapped with a 106-101 loss at Dallas on

Saturday.

Zach Randolph scored 21 of Memphis’ first 29 points, as the

Grizzlies went ahead by 10 early before Dallas cooled him off.

Randolph, who came in averaging 30.3 points in the previous three

games, was 0 for 3 from the floor from 9:42 of the second quarter

to 9:43 of the fourth.

“We stopped doing what we were doing that got us the lead,” said

Randolph, who ended up with 27 points and 14 rebounds. “We needed

to attack the basket more. It’s real frustrating. It was a tough

game.

“We need to make smarter plays, move the ball, play a little

more together at the end of the game. If we do that, we’ll be

OK.”

While the Grizzlies are last in the Southwest Division, a good

run in December has instilled some confidence. That’s especially

true for Randolph, who has averaged 23.3 points and 13.9 rebounds

as Memphis has gone 7-4 this month.

Much of that success has come at home, where the Grizzlies are

9-5 this season and 5-2 in December.

They’re looking to extend that against the Wizards (10-18), who

have also played better recently, but a 101-89 loss to Minnesota on

Saturday had them extremely frustrated.

The Timberwolves have has the worst record in the Western

Conference and shot 37.4 percent, but Washington – last in the

Southeast – had its own problems, going 32 of 81 from the floor

while being outrebounded 56-45.

The Wizards, who were looking to win three in a row for the

first time this season, had averaged 106.8 points while going 3-1

in their previous four.

“We can call them the worst team in the West, but it’s not like

we’ve got that many wins over them,” said Arenas, who scored 26

points. “Right now we are one of the worst teams in the East until

we can prove ourselves. Right now, we win two, we lose four.”

Arenas shot 10 of 28, the third time in the last four games he’s

been held below 36-percent shooting. He also had seven turnovers

for a second straight game, but had nine of his team’s season-low

12 assists.

Arenas has missed Washington’s last four games against the

Grizzlies, including two losses last season while recovering from

knee surgery. He hasn’t faced them since scoring 31 points in a

116-101 victory in 2006.