Four-game losing streaks have been extremely rare for the Utah Jazz the last three seasons. Five-game winning streaks have been an even less common occurrence during that stretch for the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies look to end a 10-game losing streak to the Jazz when the teams meet at EnergySolutions Arena on Wednesday night.
After a surprising win at Phoenix on Saturday, Memphis (17-16) continued its strong play on a four-game road trip with a 109-105 victory over Portland on Tuesday - its fourth straight victory.
The win was the Grizzlies seventh in the last eight games. They’ve averaged 113.1 points while shooting close to 50 percent over that stretch, and had won the previous two games by double digits.
“There’s a lot of adversities you have to go through to be a winning team,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “It’s not just easy 20-point wins. You’ve got to come, play, battle and compete and they rose up in the last couple of minutes and got that win.”
A four-game winning streak is a rare accomplishment for a franchise that has been one of the NBA’s worst the past three seasons. Their current run is only their third four-game streak during that span.
Memphis hasn’t recorded five straight victories since winning the final five games of the 2005-06 season.
Extending their streak won’t be easy, however, particularly in Salt Lake City, where the Jazz (18-16) will be looking to avoid losing three straight for the first time since Feb. 7-14, 2007. Memphis has lost 10 in a row to Utah, including the last five on the road by an average of 19.2 points.
To continue their success against the Grizzlies, the Jazz will need to find a way to break out of their slump after they dropped their third straight with a 91-87 loss to New Orleans on Monday. Carlos Boozer(notes) scored 18 points and added 14 rebounds, while Deron Williams(notes) had 17 points and 11 assists.
Utah is averaging 89.3 points in the last three games after scoring 96.6 in its previous five contests. The Jazz are 4-7 since back-to-back wins over division-leaders Orlando and the Lakers on Dec. 10 and 12.
“It’s very hard,” Williams said. “We didn’t expect to be in this position this late in the season. We thought we’d be playing our best basketball come this time, not regressing.”
Williams and the Jazz will try to avoid their third four-game losing streak over the last three seasons, which includes a six-game skid from Dec. 4-14, 2007.
Mehmet Okur(notes), the team’s third-leading scorer (12.6) was held to nine points on 3-of-11 shooting in the loss to the Hornets. He’s shooting 32.1 percent in the last four games. Okur scored five points in 15 minutes in a 120-93 win over the Grizzlies on Nov. 30 for his lowest point total in 22 games against Memphis.
The Grizzlies haven’t beaten the Jazz since a 132-130 overtime win on Jan. 24, 2007.