NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 16th (All times eastern)
Memphis Grizzlies (10-14) at Atlanta Hawks (17-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies have been finding success on the road as of late, but the team's recent good fortune will be tested in tonight's clash with the streaking Atlanta Hawks from Philips Arena.
Although just 4-9 as the visitor this season, the Grizzlies have won their last two games away from home and easily handled the Miami Heat by a 118-90 count on the road on Sunday. Memphis will be aiming to win three consecutive away tilts for the first time since April 12-19, 2006.
The Grizzlies will face a tough challenge tonight, though, from a Hawks squad that's won its last four contests and is an outstanding 10-2 at home this season. Atlanta owns an excellent 17-6 overall record and is just a half-game back of first-place Orlando in the Southeast Division standings.
The Hawks were dominant in their most recent outing, a 130-107 rout of hapless New Jersey Saturday at Philips Arena. Maurice Evans led a balanced Hawks attack with 22 points and nine rebounds, while Joe Johnson posted a double- double by recording 21 points and 10 assists.
Atlanta led by just two points after the first quarter but pulled away in the second, outscoring New Jersey by a 31-21 margin to take a commanding 62-50 advantage into intermission.
"In the second quarter, it was pretty much where we wanted to be," said Johnson. "Defensively, we picked it up. In the second half we didn't let up."
Saturday's win started up a three-game homestand for the Hawks, who will host Utah on Friday.
Memphis was last in action on Monday and came out on the short end of a 110-105 decision to Atlantic Division leader Boston. The Grizzlies had won four of five games to begin the month of December prior to that setback.
The Grizzlies trailed the mighty Celtics by only one point, 94-93, midway through the first quarter before Boston embarked on a 9-2 run to go up 103-95 with under three minutes to go. Memphis responded with six straight points and pulled within two on O.J. Mayo's jumper with 1;29 remaining, but could get no closer.
"We couldn't get stops towards the end," said Memphis' Zach Randolph. "They made plays and we couldn't get a stop. They hit big shots."
Rudy Gay paced Memphis with 23 points in the loss, with Mayo and Randolph pouring in 21 and 20, respectively.
The Grizzlies will be shooting for their first victory in Atlanta since November 12, 2005. The Hawks have won five of the past six meetings between the teams, including the last three held at Philips Arena.
12/16 10:39:10 ET