Grizzlies-Nets Preview

BY foxsports • February 9, 2016

The positive vibe that the Memphis Grizzlies had been feeling during their best stretch no longer remains following their first back-to-back losses in six weeks.

For the first time in three seasons, they'll move on for an extended period without the player general manager Chris Wallace called the cornerstone of the franchise.

With Marc Gasol sidelined indefinitely, Memphis looks to get back on track with a season high-tying third straight road win Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets.

The Grizzlies soared to fifth in the Western Conference with an 11-2 spurt from Jan. 8-Feb. 5. Gasol averaged 21.1 points over nine games in the middle of that surge.

The two-time All-Star finished with 22 points in a 114-110 overtime home loss to Dallas on Saturday that snapped the team's five-game winning streak before he was forced to leave Monday's 112-106 overtime defeat to visiting Portland in the first quarter.

Gasol underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed a broken bone in his right foot. He hadn't missed a game this season after Memphis went 10-14 without him over the prior two.

"It hurts everybody," coach Dave Joerger told The Commercial Appeal. "Marc is a guy who lays it out there for his teammates and the fans. We're going to fight, scratch and claw.''

Joerger's club hopes to do that as it tries to avoid its longest losing streak since a season-high four-game slide in early November. At the same time, the Grizzlies (30-22) are chasing their first three-game road winning streak since Nov. 25-Dec. 9.

Without Gasol, Jeff Green and Matt Barnes are likely to get more playing time in the frontcourt while Zach Randolph and Mike Conley will try to pick up the scoring load.

Green has totaled 21 points on 9-of-28 shooting in his last two games after scoring 24 per game with a 60.3 field-goal percentage during the winning streak. Randolph, though, has put up a combined 46 points and 23 rebounds over his past two.

Conley, who had a season-high 27 points against the Trail Blazers, led the way with 22 and eight assists in a 101-91 home win over Brooklyn (14-39) on Oct. 31. Randolph added 15 points and 13 boards while Gasol was held to seven points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Randolph has averaged 18 points and 11.7 rebounds over three straight wins in this series. Memphis has won two of three road meetings since the Nets moved to Brooklyn.

Brook Lopez, who averages a team-high 20.2 points, has scored 24 per game over his last seven but has been limited to 11.7 in the past three matchups with Memphis.

Thaddeus Young finished with 20 points, Markel Brown had a career-high 19 and Lopez added 16 in Monday's 105-104 win over Denver. Joe Johnson banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Nets in position to win back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 8 and 10.

"I knew I had one-point-something (on the clock), so I had enough to at least take a dribble," Johnson said. "I don't even know how it went in.''

The Nets have played well offensively at home, averaging 107.8 points while making 47.9 percent from 3-point range in their last six games there. However, they've given up 110.0 per game and a 48.6 field-goal percentage over their past four overall.

Memphis has averaged 104.9 points on 48.7 percent over its last 12 games.

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