The Memphis Grizzlies have put together a franchise-record winning streak on the road. Matching that success at home, however, has been much more difficult.
They’ll try to open a three-game homestand with a third straight victory Friday night when they face the struggling New York Knicks.
The Grizzlies (34-31) set a team record with their fifth straight road win by beating New Orleans on March 3, and stretched that run to seven with an impressive 111-91 win over Atlantic Division-leading Boston on Wednesday. Memphis dominated throughout, shooting 55.0 percent and outrebounding the Celtics 48-23.
“We talked about making some noise, we beat a lot of good teams during the course of this season and this is the first big road win though against one of the top teams in the league,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “That’s the way the NBA is and that just takes us further and closer to our goal.”
That goal is reaching the playoffs for the first time in four seasons, and Memphis is ninth in the Western Conference, chasing Portland and San Antonio for the last two postseason positions.
The Grizzlies, winners of four of five overall, can make a serious case for a playoff spot if they can carry their road success back to FedEx Forum, where they’re 19-14.
Memphis, which is opening a three-game homestand, won its last game there Monday, beating league-worst New Jersey 107-101 to snap an eight-game home losing streak.
Rudy Gay(notes), second on the team with 20.0 points per game, is looking to build on his superb performance from Wednesday, connecting on 10 of 18 shots for 28 points and eight rebounds. He had 21 points and 10 boards against the Nets, but is averaging 17.2 points in the last nine home games.
Gay scored 27 points to power the Grizzlies’ 120-109 win at New York (22-42) on Feb. 27. He’s topped the 20-point mark in each of the last five meetings - three wins.
The Knicks are already assured of their franchise-record ninth consecutive losing season after falling 97-87 at San Antonio on Wednesday for their 13th loss in 16 games.
“Whether we win or not … everybody wants to win, but the objective is, we’d better be competing,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “And that’s what we did (Wednesday).”
New York has dropped nine of 10 on the road, but David Lee(notes) can’t be blamed for that. The forward, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds against the Spurs, is averaging 21.7 points and 12.6 rebounds over that stretch.
Lee had 21 points against the Grizzlies in February.
The Knicks are expected to have Eddy Curry(notes) available as he attempts to come back from left knee surgery and pain in his right calf that prevented his return Wednesday. The knee injury has sidelined him for 39 games and he’s been limited to 10 games over two seasons due to various ailments.