Memphis (26-21) at Washington (14-32)

  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Feb 4, 2004
  • TV: FSS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Memphis Grizzlies have finally broken out of their offensive slump and look to stay on track when they head to MCI Center for a meeting with the Washington Wizards.

The Grizzlies averaged better than 101 points during a franchise-record eight-game win streak from Jan. 11-25, but lost that firepower in dropping their next three games to Portland, Utah and Detroit.

Memphis allowed only 84.3 points per game during the slide but couldn’t generate any offense with a 77.7 average—well below its 96.1 season average.

The Grizzlies regained their scoring touch Monday in a 106-101 win over the Golden State Warriors, leaving them two victories shy of tying the franchise record of 28, set last season.

Pau Gasol and Lorenzen Wright each scored 18 points to lead Memphis, which shot 50.6 percent from the field (40-for-79) and outscored the Warriors 26-17 in the fourth quarter.

“We were not very pretty for three quarters,” Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown said. “We had a ton of turnovers, and we were not guarding the way we can guard. … We finally started to defend in the fourth quarter and held them to nine points for seven or eight minutes.”

Grizzlies guard Mike Miller returned to action after missing two games with back spasms and had eight points on 4-of-10 shooting in 18 minutes.

Jerry Stackhouse played his first game since undergoing right knee surgery on Oct. 21 as Washington fell 104-100 to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

Stackhouse, who led the Wizards with 21.5 points per game last season, scored 13 points on 5-for-14 shooting in 27 minutes in a return that was completely overshadowed by a career-high 39 points from Cavaliers rookie LeBron James.

The Wizards, who fell to 2-3 on a season-high seven-game homestand, sent out their 15th different starting lineup this season. In addition to Stackhouse, Christian Laettner started at forward in place of Kwame Brown and Brendan Haywood stepped in at center for Etan Thomas.

“We’re trying to change a losing culture here, and it’s not easy,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “We’re taking baby steps. We’re having setbacks, and we’re going to keep plugging it.”

The Wizards’ homestand ends against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

STANDINGS (through Feb. 2): Grizzlies - 5th place (tied), 7 1/2 GB, Midwest Division. Wizards - 6th place, 12 GB, Atlantic Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Grizzlies - F James Posey, F Gasol, C Wright, G Jason Williams, G Miller. Wizards - F Stackhouse, F Laettner, C Haywood, G Larry Hughes, G Brevin Knight.

TEAM LEADERS: Grizzlies - Gasol, 17.2 ppg and 7.9 rpg; Williams, 6.9 apg. Wizards - Hughes, 18.9 ppg; Brown, 7 rpg; Steve Blake, 3.2 apg.

SEASON SERIES: Grizzlies, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 5; Grizzlies, 92-77. At Memphis, Bonzi Wells had 12 points and six assists and got a standing ovation in his debut with the Grizzlies after being acquired in a Dec. 3 trade with Portland.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Grizzlies - 9-14 on the road; Wizards - 10-13 at home.

INJURIES: Grizzlies - G Troy Bell (knee); F Theron Smith (knee); F Ryan Humphrey (concussion). Wizards - G Mitchell Butler (knee); G Chris Whitney (ankle); G Gilbert Arenas (abdomen).

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