Memphis has ripped off a season-best seven straight wins and one more victory will match a franchise-best run from Jan. 11-25, 2004. The team escaped with a one-point win its last time out in a 91-90 decision at Golden State on Monday, as Rudy Gay led the charge with 23 points and Mike Conley posted 20 and nine assists. Marc Gasol added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who erased a 20-point deficit in the second half and scored 13 points off nine turnovers in the fourth quarter.
"It was a big win for us. We were dead in the water in the first half because we had no answers. They were making 3s, driving and doing everything," Hollins told the team's website. "I just told the team at halftime: 'The way that we get back into the game is to attack the basket and touch them on defense. We just can't let them run around and do what they want to do. We don't play that way.' We don't quit, we fight."
The Grizzlies outscored the Warriors by a lopsided 39-22 margin in the final stanza and evened their road mark at 4-4 on the season. They will also visit the Clippers and Suns on the current road swing and have won three in a row away from Beale Street. Gay is averaging 22.1 ppg during the win streak.
Memphis is also 9-3 since All-Star forward Zach Randolph went down on January 1 with a torn MCL. Randolph is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks of action.
Portland has been playing outstanding at home as evidenced by its 7-1 mark in Rip City and will close out a quick two-game residency tonight. Key reserve Jamal Crawford led six players in double figures with 26 points in Monday's 101-89 win versus Sacramento and Gerald Wallace returned from a one-game absence to post 20.
Wesley Matthews and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, and the latter also grabbed a game-best 16 rebounds. Raymond Felton had 11 points and Craig Smith netted 10 for Portland, which was coming off a 2-4 road trip and has won three of five games since a three-game losing streak.
"We missed shots early, but our defense got aggressive, started to force some turnovers and create some easy baskets," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said on the team's site. "It got us into the flow offensively ... and created the momentum we rode throughout the game."
Aldridge has reached double digits in scoring in every game this season. Center Marcus Camby left the win over the Kings with a groin injury and is questionable for Tuesday. Portland was beginning its first back-to-back-to- back stretch of the season.
Portland took two of three games from Memphis a year ago and is 11-3 in the previous 14 encounters between the two clubs. Memphis has dropped five of seven trips to the Rose Garden.