Two of the best teams in the Western Conference are struggling a bit, but one will get on track Friday night when the Memphis Grizzlies host the Golden State Warriors.
The Grizz have lost two in a row and are 1-2 with newly-acquired forwards Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis. They fell at home to the lowly Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, then lost in Atlanta 103-92 on Wednesday.
Against the Hawks, Prince only managed six points and Davis tallied two in just under 10 minutes of action. All-Star Zach Randolph led the way with 20, while Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless also scored in double figures.
"We weren't playing our game," acknowledged Gasol. "They ran at us every time, and they put a lot of pressure on the ball. It hurts even more to get beat at your own game, and get outworked. Obviously, we're struggling a little bit right now, but we're going to fight and figure it out."
Memphis has dropped three of its last four and in that span, allowed 95.3 ppg. That's almost six points more per game than they average, and against Atlanta, the Hawks shot 51.4 percent from the field and 41.7 from long range.
Due to some poor play on their own end, coupled with the Denver Nuggets' surge, the Grizzlies have fallen to fifth in the Western Conference. Just below them rank the Warriors, who have lost two in a row, both on the road, after a four-game win streak.
Golden State started its four-game sojourn with a historically bad loss to the Houston Rockets. On Tuesday, the Rockets matched an NBA record with 23 made 3- pointers and the Warriors didn't take kindly to it. Mark Jackson instructed his players to foul the Rockets so they couldn't tie the mark. Draymond Green of Golden State got ejected after a little scrum, but the final score was 140-109.
The very next night, the Warriors traveled to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder. Kevin Durant and company jumped on the Warriors by winning the first quarter, 34-22, then taking the second, 33-27. The final ended up being 119-98.
"We didn't win and we didn't play particularly well," Jackson said after the Thunder loss. "I thought we battled. I thought in spurts we played very good, but overall what it takes to beat this team, especially in that building, is 48 minutes of solid basketball on both sides of the ball and we did not do that."
David Lee (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Steph Curry (14 points, 11 assists) had double-doubles for the Warriors and Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes both scored 19 apiece.
The Warriors allowed 64 points in the paint on Wednesday and committed 19 turnovers, including six from Curry, which led to 29 Thunder points.
The Warriors will finish off their road trip Saturday at Dallas and have lost the first two meetings with Memphis this season. The Grizzlies are unbeaten in eight straight matchups with Golden State, which has dropped seven in a row at FedEx Forum.