NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 16th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Suns (31-22) at Memphis Grizzlies (26-25), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies are not far off in the race for a playoff spot and hope to end a four-game slide tonight, when they kick off the second half of the NBA season versus the Phoenix Suns at FedEx Forum.
Memphis is three games off the pace in the West and dropped its fourth consecutive game in last Tuesday's 108-94 setback versus the Atlanta Hawks at home. All-Star Zach Randolph had 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Rudy Gay scored 18 points and O.J. Mayo contributed 16 for the Grizzlies, who have dropped six of their last seven games after winning 15 of their previous 19.
"Hopefully, the break will refresh their minds and their bodies and we'll come back to work," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "I told them to go enjoy themselves. The guys going to the All-Star game, enjoy that experience. The guys that aren't go find a spot to relax."
Randolph had eight points and six rebounds in the West's loss to the East in Sunday's All-Star Game. He is just one of two players in the NBA (Chris Bosh) and the only player in the Western Conference averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Randolph also leads NBA in offensive rebounding with a career-high 4.3 rpg for Memphis, which is an impressive 18-8 at home this season.
The Grizzlies have won 12 of their previous 15 home games dating back to December 18 versus Indiana.
Phoenix hopes that the All-Star break was more than enough rest and will try to bounce back after having its five-game winning streak stopped in last Wednesday's 108-101 setback versus the Portland Trail Blazers.
Amid trade rumors Amare Stoudemire had 24 points and nine boards, while Steve Nash contributed 15 points and 11 assists for the Suns, who are seventh in the Western Conference standings.
"We got our ass kicked, plain and simple," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "They outplayed us in every phase. They outhustled us. They made good plays, good passes, everything we didn't do."
Nash had four points and a game-best 13 assists, and Stoudemire added 12 points and 10 boards for the West in Sunday's All-Star Game. The Suns will also visit Dallas and are 13-15 away from the desert this season.
Memphis has won two of three matchups with the Suns this season, but Phoenix is 12-3 over the last 15 meetings between the teams.
02/16 10:48:06 ET