With three consecutive victories, the San Antonio Spurs have seemed to emerge from their recent slump.
The Spurs will attempt to continue that surge Saturday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, who are trying to avoid their longest home losing streak since moving from Canada.
Losers in 11 of 19 entering this week, San Antonio (35-24) has bounced back by beating its past three opponents by an average of 10.7 points, including a 102-91 home win over New Orleans on Friday night.
Despite battling an ailing ankle and hip, Parker has averaged 18.0 points on 60.5 percent shooting in the past three games. The team needs the veteran guard to play well down the stretch—17 of its final 23 games are against winning teams and 15 of them are on the road.
“It’s a real double-edge sword,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s got to work to get in shape, but at the same time, he can’t exacerbate the ankle or the hip situation.”
San Antonio has averaged 107.0 points and shot 51.5 percent over its last three games after averaging 97.2 points and shooting 43.1 percent in its previous 19. The Spurs have also had at least six players reach double figures during its current win streak.
They also had six players score at least 11 points in a 104-97 home win over the Grizzlies on Jan. 29. However, only three players had more than nine in their previous trip to Memphis, a 92-86 loss Jan. 16.
Randolph enters Saturday averaging 24.7 points and 13.4 rebounds in the past seven games, and posted a franchise-record 43rd double-double this season as his team rallied for a 105-96 win in Chicago on Thursday night.
Memphis trailed by 17 midway through the second quarter but pulled away by outscoring the Bulls 29-16 in the final period.
“Zach just had a great game all around,” coach Lionel Hollins told the league’s Web site. “We had our energy pick up in the second quarter and focused better. We were able to get out and run on them.”
Randolph has helped the Grizzlies (32-30) to a franchise-record six consecutive road victories, but they’ve dropped seven straight at home since beating the Los Angeles Lakers 95-93 on Feb. 1.
A lackluster offense has plagued Memphis at FedEx Forum, where it’s averaged 91.3 points—10.8 below its overall season average—during a seven-game home losing streak.
The Grizzlies haven’t dropped eight in a row at home since Dec. 26, 1997-Jan. 11, 1998, when they were in Vancouver. In their inaugural 1995-96 season, they set a franchise record with 11 straight defeats.
However, Memphis will get plenty of chances to avoid matching that mark as it plays six of its next eight at home. After facing San Antonio, the Grizzlies will also host the league’s worst team, New Jersey, on Monday night.
To beat the Spurs, they’ll likely need to focus on slowing down Duncan, who has averaged 23.1 points in his career against Memphis. That average is his second highest against any opposing team in his career, trailing only his 23.7 points per game versus Orlando.