Grizzlies Look for First Road Win of Season in Houston
Posted Nov 25 2006 11:41AM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
The Memphis Grizzlies have failed in their first six tries to earn a road win this season. They will have plenty of chances to end that streak over the next two weeks.
Memphis (3-9) meets the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on Saturday to kick off a stretch in which the Grizzlies will play six of their next seven on the road.
The Grizzlies are averaging just 90.5 points on the road this season compared to 97.7 points per game at home, where they're 3-3 in 2006-07. Following this contest, Memphis continues its road swing against Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers - both second-place teams in their respective divisions.
After returning home Dec. 2 to face defending NBA champion Miami, the Grizzles then travel to New York, Boston and Milwaukee. Memphis is one four teams with a league-low three wins, along with Toronto, Charlotte and Chicago.
The Grizzlies, though, will try to build off their biggest win of the season after defeating Washington 95-80 on Friday. Hakim Warrick led Memphis with 18 points, and Stromile Swift had his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
``We defended for four quarters consistently,'' Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said.
``We try to spark up the bench and add something to the game,'' Jones said. ``And we got a chance to do that.''
Injuries are a big reason for Memphis' poor start. Pau Gasol, the face of the franchise, is expected to be out until January after suffering a broken bone in his foot playing for Spain at the World Championships in Japan during the summer.
Guard Eddie Jones, a career 15.9 point-per-game scorer, has missed the last six games with right Achilles' tendinitis, and Memphis got more bad news Friday after learning rookie point guard Kyle Lowry is expected to miss most of the remainder of the season with a broken left wrist suffered in Tuesday's 97-94 loss to Cleveland.
``I couldn't tell you when exactly he will be ready to come back, whether it will be with part of the season left to go. I know it's going to be an extended period of time,'' Fratello said.
Lowry had a career-high 16 in the loss to the Cavaliers.
Houston (8-4) also is coming off a win over Washington, having beaten the Wizards 86-82 on Wednesday behind 25 points and 14 rebounds from Yao Ming.
The Rockets were outscored in the fourth quarter for the seventh time in 12 games, a disturbing pattern that's nearly cost them in two other home games.
``It would concern me if we were losing games,'' said Tracy McGrady, who added 13 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. ``I will take a win any way I can get it.''
Having a healthy Yao and McGrady in the lineup has provided a lift for Houston, which didn't record its ninth win last season until its 21st game. Yao was limited to 57 games by foot injuries while McGrady appeared in only 47 due to back problems.
Yao is averaging career highs with 26.3 points and 10.6 rebounds, while McGrady is averaging 19.3 points this season. The pair combined for 43 points and 16 rebounds in an 86-80 win Nov. 7 at Memphis.
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