Grizzlies vs. Lakers preview - 2/26/14
By ALAN FERGUSON
The Memphis Grizzlies are contending for another Western Conference playoff berth in part because of their recent success at home.
The Grizzlies, though, will get fewer chances to play on their court down the stretch and will try to take advantage of a visit from the struggling Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
Memphis (31-24) appeared that it might struggle to claim a playoff spot for the fourth straight season after a 15-19 start, but it has won 16 of 21 since - including nine of its last 11 at home. That surge has pulled the Grizzlies within 1 1/2 games of Phoenix for eighth place in the West.
Memphis, though, will play 16 of its final 27 games on the road and will have just nine at home after this weekend. The Grizzlies will try to earn a season high-tying fourth consecutive victory at FedExForum by sending the Lakers (19-38) to their 26th loss in 32 games.
Los Angeles was blown out 118-98 at East-leading Indiana on Tuesday. With a career-high 23 points, recently acquired forward Kent Bazemore was the only Laker to score more than 15.
Bazemore was part of a three-player deal with Golden State last Wednesday, and his new club produced just 16 points in the third quarter Tuesday.
"We'll go back and watch the film and get a better idea of how badly we played," coach Mike D'Antoni said.
Despite its recent struggles, Los Angeles had won back-to-back road games before Tuesday's loss. The Lakers have split their two matchups with the Grizzlies this season, with each team winning on the other's home floor.
Los Angeles, though, is 7-25 since its 96-92 win in Memphis on Dec. 17 and 4-13 on the road.
The Grizzlies will try to add to the Lakers' woes with a fifth win in six games. Memphis rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter in Charlotte on Saturday but couldn't close out the Bobcats in a 92-89 loss that ended their four-game winning streak.
Mike Conley's jumper with 51 seconds left gave the Grizzlies a short-lived 87-86 lead. He scored a team-best 16 points but missed a pair of potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final seven seconds.
"We wanted to win, but the Charlotte Bobcats were the aggressors," guard Tony Allen said. "They were physical. ... They pretty much outworked us tonight."
Memphis has outworked Los Angeles on the glass this season by a 100-77 margin, and Zach Randolph has 27 of those rebounds along with 46 points. Randolph had a season-high 28 points and 11 rebounds in an 89-86 win in Los Angeles on Nov. 15.
Jodie Meeks is the top scorer against the Grizzlies among healthy Lakers, averaging 19.0 points on 57.7 percent shooting. Meeks had 25 points and made 10 of 16 shots in the Nov. 15 loss, which currently injured star Kobe Bryant (knee) also sat out.
Former Grizzlies forward Pau Gasol had 21 points and nine rebounds in the victory in Memphis on Dec. 17. Nick Young, who scored 18 points in each game, is out with a sprained left ankle.
The Grizzlies won four in a row at home Jan. 10-17.
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