Time is running out on Memphis’ playoff hopes, but the Grizzlies have a chance to make up ground with a favorable schedule over the next five days.
That stretch includes two matchups against the short-handed Golden State Warriors, who will carry a 12-game road losing streak into the FedEx Forum on Saturday night.
Memphis (36-33) seemed to start a much-needed push toward ending its four-year postseason drought by winning five of six earlier this month. The Grizzlies, though, have dropped two of three since to fall 5 1/2 games behind eighth-place Portland in the Western Conference.
A 107-94 loss in Houston on Wednesday night snapped the Grizzlies’ franchise-record seven-game road win streak. Memphis couldn’t add to its two-point halftime lead as the Rockets shot 63 percent over the final 24 minutes. The teams are now tied for ninth in the West.
With 13 games remaining, the Grizzlies are short on opportunities to catch the Trail Blazers, so they’re hoping to take advantage of three straight games against sub-.500 teams. After hosting the Warriors, they start a three-game road trip against Sacramento on Monday night then head to Oakland two days later.
Golden State could have just eight players available for the third straight game Saturday. Rookie guard Stephen Curry(notes) has missed the past two contests with a sprained left ankle and his status for Saturday is unknown.
Without Curry, the Warriors knocked off an equally short-handed New Orleans squad 131-121 on Wednesday night, but they couldn’t keep up with San Antonio in a 147-116 defeat Friday night.
“Got another one tomorrow, so I’m not worrying about this,” Ellis said. “I’m glad it’s over with.”
After beating Memphis at home on Nov. 4, the Warriors had eight players available Dec. 22 at the FedEx Forum and fell 121-108 despite 25 points from Maggette and 23 from Ellis. Zach Randolph(notes) led the Grizzlies with a season-high 33 points and 18 rebounds.
Randolph, who had 30 points and 15 rebounds in the loss to Houston, will search for his sixth straight double-double since sitting out one game with lower back stiffness.
He’ll try to take advantage of a Warriors team that’s on the verge of its longest road losing streak in eight years. Golden State hasn’t dropped 13 in a row away from home since Jan. 2-March 5, 2002.
The Warriors, 4-29 on the road this season, have been beaten by double digits in each of their past two trips to Memphis after winning three in a row there.
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol(notes) topped 20 points in each of those wins but he’s missed the past two games with a strained neck muscle. His status is uncertain as Memphis tries goes for its fourth win in five games at home following an eight-game slide there.
The Grizzlies are also seeking their fifth win in six overall meetings with the Warriors since the beginning of last season.