The New Orleans Hornets are just trying to avoid another losing streak.
Gay looks to build on his best game of the season when the Grizzlies host the struggling Hornets on Saturday night.
Gay leads Memphis (4-6) with 17.3 points per game, but that's a drop from his 19.8 average in 2010-11 when the Grizzlies reached the second round of the playoffs.
The star forward, though, wasn't there to contribute after his season ended in February due to a shoulder injury, and he's trying to prove he can make a full recovery.
"There are a lot of things people don't understand," said Gay, who is also dealing with a hip pointer. "A lot of people haven't been through surgery and been out 10 months and expected to play back-to-back-to-back. It's OK. It's going to click for me."
The Grizzlies got a glimpse of what they're accustomed to seeing from Gay on Thursday, as he scored a season-high 26 points while making 11 of 16 from the field in a 94-83 win over New York.
"That's what we need out of him," guard Mike Conley said. "That's the guy we look to make big plays down the stretch and to carry the load of the scoring. We're a very good team when he's scoring and being that kind of a threat."
That's been evident in Memphis' last three victories, as Gay is averaging 22.7 points compared to 15.8 in the six defeats.
Some consistent scoring from O.J. Mayo could also lessen the pressure on Gay. The guard is averaging 10.9 points, but has season highs of 18 points and eight rebounds against the Knicks.
The Grizzlies split four meetings with the Hornets (3-8) last season, going 2-1 without Gay.
Mayo helped pick up the slack in the most recent matchup, scoring 18 points in a 111-89 home win April 10. He's averaging 19.5 points in six career meetings at FedEx Forum.
While Gay and the Grizzles try to gain momentum, the Hornets have the Western Conference's worst record and their 86.5 points per game are among the fewest in the league.
New Orleans has dropped eight of nine after falling 87-80 to Minnesota on Friday, as the team shot 37.8 percent from the floor while missing 12 of 16 3-pointers. The Hornets also allowed the Timberwolves to get to the free-throw line often, and they went 33 for 38.
"We have to learn how to play defense without fouling," said guard Jarrett Jack, who has scored eight points in consecutive games - well below his team-leading 14.2 average.
The Hornets could also use better performances from Carl Landry and Chris Kaman.
Landry is second to Jack with 14.1 points per game while adding 5.9 rebounds, but he managed just three points while making 1 of 8 shots Friday.
Kaman wasn't any better, missing all 10 of his shots from the field while finishing with two points and nine rebounds. He totaled 37 points and 16 boards over the previous two games, and is averaging 10.8 and 8.0, respectively, in his first season with New Orleans.
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- Sports & Recreation/Basketball
- New Orleans Hornets
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Rudy Gay