The Memphis Grizzlies have won their last two games on late tip-ins. They’d take a victory in Houston any way they can get one.
Winner of four straight overall, Memphis will try to snap a 10-game losing streak visiting the Rockets on Monday night when these Southwest Division rivals meet in Houston for the first time in 2011-12.
After Dante Cunningham tipped in Rudy Gay’s miss with less than a second left in Friday’s 103-102 win over Denver, Tony Allen put back another miss by Gay with 5.6 seconds remaining in a 104-103 victory over Golden State on Saturday.
“Tony bailed me out today,” Gay said after the win over the Warriors. “(Friday) it was Dante. I think next time, I have to make the shot.”
Despite the late misses, Gay is averaging 20.9 points - 2.0 more than his season mark - and shooting 49.2 percent during the Grizzlies’ 6-1 run.
Memphis (18-14) will now seek to win five straight for the second time in 2012. The Grizzlies put together a seven-game run Jan. 12-23.
They have defeated the Rockets twice at home this season, including a 93-83 win last Tuesday. Memphis, though, is winless in 10 visits to Houston since April 15, 2006.
The Rockets (18-14) will look to extend their home-court edge in this series after improving to 2-1 on their season-high stretch of six straight home games with Sunday’s 101-85 victory over Utah. Former Grizzlies guard Kyle Lowry hit a career high-tying seven 3-pointers and finished with 32 points and nine assists to lead the way.
“When you have one of those rhythms and your legs are feeling good and you’re just confident in your shot, I feel I can make it anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” he said.
Lowry was one of Houston’s few bright spots in last Tuesday’s loss at Memphis with 24 points and six assists. The Rockets committed 18 turnovers and shot a season-low 38.5 percent.
Houston leading scorer Kevin Martin missed all three of his shots in that game and went scoreless for the first time in six seasons. He’d averaged 29.2 points over his previous six games in this series, including a team-high 21 in a 113-93 loss Dec. 30.
“I got a video edit of his last three games before the game and I was studying his tendencies,” Allen said last week. “We were talking about Kevin in shoot-around and about him being a Grizzlies killer. We had our antennas up.”
Lots of opposing defenses apparently are on guard for Martin, who is shooting 36.1 percent from the field and averaging 11.4 points over his last nine contests.
His struggles won’t matter as much if the Rockets can continue to buckle down on the defensive end. They held the Jazz to 39.5 percent shooting after their previous six opponents shot a combined 48.7 percent.
Houston is 10-0 this season when its opponents shoot worse than 42.4 percent. The Grizzlies have shot 52.3 percent in the first two games of this season series.