NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 2nd (All times eastern)
New Orleans Hornets (35-41) at Memphis Grizzlies (38-36), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A desperate Memphis Grizzlies team hoping to live for another day welcomes the lottery-bound New Orleans Hornets to FedEx Forum tonight.
The Grizzlies' postseason chances are on life support, and the plug could get pulled tonight. Memphis is seven games behind San Antonio in the Western Conference playoff race with just eight games to play and will be officially eliminated from postseason contention with a setback tonight.
The Grizz are coming off a very tough 106-102 overtime loss to Dallas on Wednesday, their second consecutive OT setback. Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 of his 28 points after halftime in that one to guide the Mavs to the win.
O.J. Mayo led Memphis with 27 points, but missed a potential game-tying three- pointer in the final seconds of overtime. Mike Conley added 25 points while Zach Randolph ended with 24 points and 12 boards before fouling out for the Grizzlies, who dropped their third in a row and suffered their second straight overtime loss.
"This year we progressed a lot as a team. Next year we wouldn't expect anything less than the playoffs," Memphis forward Rudy Gay said afterward.
To make matters worse for the Grizz, the team announced that center Marc Gasol and swingman Ronnie Brewer will miss the team's remaining eight games due to injury.
Gasol missed five games last month after suffering a partially torn neck muscle during a game against Denver and aggravated the injury in his second game back on March 31 vs. Dallas.
Brewer suffered a partially torn right hamstring on Feb. 19 vs. Miami, his first game with Memphis after being acquired from the Utah Jazz at the trade deadline one day earlier. The veteran initially missed 13 games with the injury and only played in four games since.
The Hornets, meanwhile, are coming off an awful loss to woeful Washington on Wednesday. Mike Miller scored 27 points with seven rebounds and Andray Blatche added 23 points as the Wizards snapped their franchise-record 16-game losing streak with a 96-91 victory over New Orleans.
David West led the way for the Hornets with 18 points, but missed what would have been a game-tying three in the closing seconds. Marcus Thornton added 15 points and Chris Paul, still getting his legs under him in an injury-plagued season, settled for just eight points with nine assists.
Darren Collison added 14 points and Aaron Gray donated 12 for the Hornets, who experienced a devastating low after an enormous high with a victory over the Lakers on Monday night.
"This game was an opportunity to get a win and build on the Lakers game, but unfortunately was a setback," said Hornets head coach Jeff Bower. "The follow- up from the Lakers game wasn't there, and I give credit to the Wizards for creating that,"
Memphis snapped a three-game skid in the series with a 104-100 win in the Big Easy back on March 3.
04/02 13:11:46 ET