Tony Barone has the Memphis Grizzlies running wild.
The Grizzlies, who are 2-1 since Barone replaced Mike Fratello as coach on Dec. 28, hope their new up-tempo offense leads them to consecutive wins for the first time this season when they host the struggling Boston Celtics on Friday.
Memphis (8-25) topped the 100-point mark just six times in 30 games under Fratello, but has done it in all three under Barone while averaging 121.0 points.
The Grizzlies set a franchise record for points in a 144-135 home win over Golden State on Wednesday. It was most points scored in regulation by an NBA team this season.
“We got tired halfway through the third quarter,” said Barone, a former NBA assistant who will finish the season as coach, then return to his original post as director of player personnel.
“I saw some eyes starting to cross in the huddle. So I asked them: ‘OK, would you like me to start calling plays from here on in?’ They said no, so I said: ‘OK, start running again.’ There’s no magic in coaching.”
Mike Miller scored a season-high 33 points and made a franchise-record nine 3-pointers in 12 attempts. Miller scored 32 and was 7-for-10 from 3-point range in a 111-109 loss to Houston last Sunday.
“Every once in a while it is good to be lucky,” Miller said of his performance Wednesday. “The guards did a good job of driving the ball and dishing it back out. They are the ones that should get credit when I’m out there making open shots.”
Since Barone took over, Miller has averaged 30.6 points while shooting 67.6 percent (23-for-34) from 3-point range. He was averaging 15.3 points and shooting 41.1 percent from beyond the arc under Fratello.
Miller was not the only star Wednesday.
Stromile Swift scored a season-high 26 points, Pau Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Damon Stoudamire had 18 points and a season-high 16 assists as the Grizzlies made a franchise-record 53 field goals. Memphis shot a season-best 55.8 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from 3-point range.
Boston (11-20) has given up an average of 101.1 points during its 1-7 slump, which comes after the team had won five straight.
The Celtics are 1-6 without star Paul Pierce and his 26.6 points per game. Pierce suffered a stress reaction in his left foot and has not played since Dec. 20. He could return as early as Jan. 19.
Third-year guard Tony Allen has played well since Pierce has been out. Allen, who became a starter in early December, is averaging 18.5 points in the last seven games.
Allen had 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting on Wednesday in a 107-104 home loss to Cleveland, two days after he scored 22 on 9-for-13 shooting in an 89-81 victory at Portland.
“The losing gets to everybody,” said Allen, who didn’t score in Boston’s 98-96 home loss to Memphis in the last meeting on Dec. 6. “A loss hurts. We just have to look at the film and see how to correct it.”