Phoenix (26-49) at Memphis (48-26)

Fair Currently: Memphis, TN
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Fri Apr 2, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Memphis Grizzlies need a few of their key players to heal quickly as they look to continue their march toward the postseason with a matchup against the Phoenix Suns.

Luckily, the Grizzlies have had a few days off to do just that.

Memphis hopes to have Pau Gasol, Stromile Swift and Bonzi Wells in the lineup when it goes for its seventh straight victory.

Gasol, Swift and Wells sustained minor injuries Monday during a 136-133 double-overtime win over Atlanta, the highest scoring game in the NBA this season.

Gasol, the team leader with 18.0 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, sprained the arch in his right foot in the first half before Swift dislocated a finger and Wells dislocated his shoulder.

Despite the Suns’ losing record, Memphis needs Gasol and Swift, both forwards, to match up with the frontcourt tandem of Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire—each of whom is averaging 20.5 points against the Grizzlies this season.

Memphis also visits Kevin Garnett and Midwest-leading Minnesota on Sunday.

“We have a big weekend ahead and we can’t risk (Gasol),” Memphis coach Hubie Brown said after Monday’s win. “There was no way we were going to put him back in the game. Same thing with Swift and Bonzi.”

The Grizzlies, who clinched the franchise’s first trip to the playoffs Sunday by beating Toronto, won Monday with a strong team effort. Nine Grizzlies logged at least 17 minutes in the game.

James Posey scored a career-high 38 points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force the second overtime and two clutch free throws with 10.7 seconds left in the second extra period.

“It was a whole team effort,” Posey said after playing 49 of the game’s 58 minutes. “Everybody accepted the challenge. Everybody contributed. That’s what it takes to get to the next level.”

Jason Williams added 22 points and Gasol had 16 in just 13 minutes as Memphis improved to 5-0 in overtime, 13-2 in March and an NBA-best 24-5 since Feb. 1.

The Grizzlies are 29-9 at home but play just three of their final eight games at the Pyramid.

With a victory over the Suns, the Grizzlies would take on the Timberwolves with a chance to match a franchise-record eight-game win streak, set from Jan. 11-25, and a shot at their 50th win of the season.

The Suns posted a 101-95 home win over the Washington Wizards on Monday, their fourth win in seven games since being eliminated from playoff contention.

Shawn Marion had 21 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, Joe Johnson scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and Stoudemire chipped in 15.

“We will get better as a team,” Marion said. “Going out of this season and into the next, this will be something that we work on.”

The Suns, 10-28 away from home, face another tough road game against Dallas on Saturday. They open a four-game homestand that includes a matchup with the Grizzlies on April 11.

STANDINGS (through March 31): Suns - 7th place, 26 1/2 GB, Pacific Division. Grizzlies - 3rd place, 3 GB, Midwest Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Suns - F Marion, F Stoudemire, C Antonio McDyess, G Leandro Barbosa, G Johnson. Grizzlies - F Posey, F Gasol, C Jake Tsakalidis, G Williams, G Mike Miller.

TEAM LEADERS: Suns - Stoudemire, 19.9 ppg; Marion, 9.3 rpg; Johnson, 4.2 apg. Grizzlies - Gasol, 18.0 ppg and 7.9 rpg; Williams, 6.8 apg.


LAST MEETING: Feb. 20; Grizzlies, 97-92. At Memphis, Tenn., Gasol had 17 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high eight blocked shots as the Grizzlies sent the Suns to their seventh straight loss.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Suns - 10-28 on the road; Grizzlies - 29-9 at home.

INJURIES: Suns - F Keon Clark (ankle); G Howard Eisley (abdomen); Jake Voskuhl (foot). Grizzlies - F Ryan Humphrey (knee); C Lorenzen Wright (knee); G Dahntay Jones (triceps).

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