Grizzlies at Hawks preview - 2/8/14
By JORDAN GARRETSON
The Memphis Grizzlies' recent surge has come to a halt following a key injury.
With Mike Conley not expected to return until next week, they'll try to get back on track without their point guard when they visit the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.
Memphis (26-22) won 10 of 11 from Jan. 10-31, but Conley was helped off the floor with a sprained right ankle in the last of those victories, 94-90 at Minnesota last Friday. The Grizzlies managed a 99-90 win over league-worst Milwaukee the next day but have since dropped two straight to Oklahoma City and Dallas.
The Grizzlies allowed their highest point total in regulation in 16 games during the 110-96 home defeat to the Mavericks on Wednesday. They had limited teams to averages of 89.8 points and 42.4 percent shooting during a 12-3 stretch before allowing Dallas to hit 53.8 percent.
Memphis didn't trail in the first half before being outscored 58-41 in the final 24 minutes, and allowed the Mavs to hold a 56-32 edge in the paint. The 56 points matched a season high.
"They always have five guys on the floor that you have to guard, and they can all shoot," coach Dave Joerger said. "I did a poor job at getting us ready against the multiple action pick-and-rolls that they ran. Defensively, we were awful."
Zach Randolph scored a team-high 25 points while Nick Calathes chipped in 16 in his third straight start for Conley, but he also committed six turnovers after not recording one in the previous two games. The Grizzlies are 1-4 without Conley, whose career-high 3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio is among the best in the league.
Memphis has dropped six of seven in Atlanta, though Conley had 21 points, 13 assists and four steals in a 108-101 home win over the Hawks on Jan. 12.
Atlanta (25-23) is looking to bounce back after also blowing a lead in a 105-100 loss at New Orleans on Wednesday. The Hawks held a seven-point edge with less than eight minutes left.
"We just got stagnant on defense," said point guard Jeff Teague, who had 11 points and 13 assists. "Our intensity on defense just wasn't there. We didn't play with attention to detail in the last couple of plays."
The Hawks did stay hot from 3-point range, going 14 of 30 to give them a 43.4 shooting percentage from beyond the arc in their last six games.
Kyle Korver has gone 15 of 30 on 3s in that stretch while DeMarre Carroll has made 18 of 34 in his last eight contests. Carroll, averaging 15.6 points in that span, had been scoring 9.2 and shooting 31.9 percent from 3-point range.
Memphis had held its last seven opponents to 28.5 percent on 3s.
Randolph is averaging 20.5 points and 10.7 rebounds in his career against Atlanta.
The Grizzlies haven't swept the season series since 2005-06, going 3-11 since.
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