Grizzlies vs. Jazz preview
By JEFF MEZYDLO
Following another successful road trip, the Memphis Grizzlies can focus on extending their longest home winning streak of the season.
Seeking an eighth consecutive victory at FedExForum on Wednesday night, the Grizzlies are also looking to continue their home domination of the reeling Utah Jazz.
Memphis (39-27) shot 54.3 percent and matched the second-lowest point total it's allowed this season in a 103-77 win over Philadelphia on Saturday. Mike Conley scored a team-high 19 as the Grizzlies overcame a sluggish start to lead by as many as 29 in their fifth win in six games and 12th in 16.
Memphis concluded its second consecutive 2-1 trip.
"It's a good rhythm, but it's not where we want to be yet," said center Marc Gasol, who had 11 points, six assists and three steals. "It's always on the good side. It's always better than losing, that's just for sure."
With a 1 1/2-game lead over Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Grizzlies have little room for error but should feel confident returning to Memphis. They've won 13 of 15 there and are in the midst of their longest home winning streak since a 13-game run Feb. 8-April 9, 2013.
Memphis has averaged 108.0 points and shot 51.5 percent in its last five at FedExForum, taking the past three there over Cleveland, Charlotte and Portland by an average margin of 15.3.
Gasol averaged 17.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 51.5 percent shooting in the most recent five home games.
Teammate Zach Randolph has averaged 22.8 points in his last four against Utah, and 14.4 boards in the past five meetings. He had 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a 104-94 home victory over the Jazz on Dec. 23.
The Grizzlies have won four straight and seven of eight at home over Utah (22-46), which has averaged 90.9 points and shot 44.5 percent in those eight games.
Memphis would appear to be in good position to continue that home success against the Jazz, losers of five in a row and 10 of 11. Their only victory in that stretch came March 8 on the road against a 76ers team that's dropped a club-record 21 consecutive games.
One night after Utah allowed San Antonio to shoot a season-high 62.8 percent in a 122-104 road defeat, it yielded 58.2 percent shooting and trailed by as many as 41 in a 124-86 loss at Houston on Monday.
Derrick Favors and Alec Burks each scored 15, but the Jazz shot 41.0 percent, went 4 of 18 from 3-point range and committed 19 turnovers that the Rockets turned into 26 points.
"This is a lesson for the young guys," coach Ty Corbin said. "They have to learn to get ready every night. (On Monday), we just couldn't get it going. It was like we were running in mud and couldn't get ourselves out of it."
Utah's Gordon Hayward is averaging a team-leading and career-high 15.7 points, but 11.2 during the five-game skid. He had 16 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and a season-high four blocks Dec. 23.
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