Memphis coach Lionel Hollins doesn’t know why his team has struggled so much at home and experienced nothing but success in its recent road games.
Looking for their longest road winning streak in five seasons, the Grizzlies on Saturday night face the New York Knicks, who beat them handily in last season’s two matchups.
Memphis (29-29) is searching for its first playoff berth since 2005-06 and fourth in franchise history. Losing 10 of 14, though, has dropped the Grizzlies into 11th place in the Western Conference, 3 1/2 games behind Portland for the eighth and final postseason berth.
Many of those defeats, including Friday’s 93-89 loss to Charlotte, have come during a season-high six-game home losing streak, but they’ve thrived on the road over the week and a half with wins over Toronto and league doormats New Jersey and Washington.
“We haven’t won at home since we beat (Los Angeles Lakers) before the All-Star break, yet we’ve come out and won on the road,” Hollins said. “I can’t explain it.”
The Grizzlies haven’t won four straight away from home since Jan. 1-19, 2005, and would seem to get a favorable matchup with the Knicks, who needed overtime to snap an eight-game slide Friday and have dropped five in a row at home.
New York is also 5-17 since Jan. 8, but thumped Memphis by a combined 49 points in last season’s meetings, including a 108-88 victory at Madison Square Garden.
Lee, named to his first All-Star team earlier this month, is averaging a career-best 20.4 points and 11.6 rebounds this season.
He scored the go-ahead basket with 1.6 seconds left in the extra session of a 118-116 victory over the Wizards. Lee finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds, and Al Harrington(notes) led the way with 37 points.
“It seems like it was about 123 days (since the previous win),” Lee told the team’s official Web site. “We had some chances tonight to put the game away and didn’t do it. … But tonight everybody hung together.”
It also marked the Knicks’ first win since the NBA’s trading deadline Feb. 18. Among their flurry of moves was the acquisition of Tracy McGrady(notes), who has averaged 17.5 points in four games with New York.
McGrady will try to help the Knicks to consecutive wins for the first time since a three-game run Jan. 1-7. He’s averaged 23.1 points in 27 career games against Memphis but hasn’t faced them since Feb. 4, 2009 while with Houston.
Zach Randolph(notes) leads Memphis this season with 20.4 points and a career-best 11.7 rebounds per game. After joining New York in June 2007, he played 11 games with the Knicks last season before being dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers.
While with the Clippers, he averaged 27.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in two wins over New York.