With the Suns rolling at home and the Grizzlies struggling on the road, this matchup could have far less drama.
Phoenix goes for its season-high fourth consecutive home win Wednesday night when it faces Memphis, which is looking to end a six-game road skid.
Trying to avoid consecutive home losses to the Grizzlies franchise for just the second time, Phoenix rallied for a 123-118 double-overtime victory on Nov. 5. Jason Richardson(notes) scored five of his 38 points in the final 1.1 seconds of regulation, including a tip-in at the buzzer after Memphis’ Rudy Gay(notes) unintentionally made his second free throw to give the Suns possession with 0.4 left.
“That was just a crazy turnaround,” Richardson said after the Suns avoided their first 0-3 start at home since 2005-06 and improved to 25-5 all-time when hosting the Grizzlies. “They thought they had a win. I guess the basketball gods were on our side.”
Including last month’s victory, Phoenix (11-10) has won six of seven at US Airways Center.
The Suns, though, return home following Tuesday’s 106-99 loss at Portland. Phoenix held a nine-point lead in the opening minute of the final period, but was denied a season-high fourth straight win after allowing 37 fourth-quarter points.
“We struggled to score at times, and that was it,” Steve Nash(notes) said after posting his seventh consecutive double-double with 24 points and 15 assists. “They did a better job than us defensively.”
While the Suns look to regroup as they open a three-game homestand, the Grizzlies (8-14) are going for their first road win since Nov. 6. Memphis dropped its fourth straight overall and sixth in a row on the road Monday, 94-85 to Utah.
“They execute and that’s what ground us up at the end,” said coach Lionel Hollins, whose team is allowing 110.3 points per game on 49.7 percent shooting during its four-game skid.
Although the Grizzlies are one loss shy of their first 0-7 stretch away from home since an eight-game slide that ended in January 2009, the team has reason for optimism following Monday’s defeat to the Northwest Division leaders and an 108-107 loss at Denver on Sunday when it rallied from 21 down.
“… I think right now we know that a year ago against both of these teams we played yesterday and tonight we had no chance to be in the game if we weren’t even close in the first half and it was a blowout both games,” center Marc Gasol(notes) said. “On the other hand, this year, in both games we battled back and played with physicality against both teams and that’s what we’re trying to do, be a little positive and get ready for the next one in Phoenix.”
Still without starting center Robin Lopez(notes) (sprained ligaments, left knee), the Suns could have their hands full with Gasol and Zach Randolph(notes), who combined to average 35.5 points and 24.5 boards per game in the teams’ two matchups this season.
Randolph posted season highs with 23 points and 20 rebounds in a 109-99 home win over Phoenix on Nov. 8.
This is the final meeting between Phoenix and Memphis in 2010-11. The Grizzlies will try to win the season series for the first time since taking two of three in 2005-06.