Published January 20, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Memphis Grizzlies will try for a sixth consecutive victory Monday evening when they welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to FedExForum.
Memphis has inched over the .500 mark thanks to its trademark defense. The Grizzlies have allowed an average of 84.6 points per game over their last three. It helped getting reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol back in the lineup.
On Friday, Memphis got its fifth consecutive win, and fourth in a row at home, with a hard-fought battle over the Sacramento Kings. The Grizz prevailed 91-90 to move past the .500 point for the first time since a 19-point home victory over the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 3. That win made them 9-8.
Mike Conley scored a game-high 25 points, while Courtney Lee added 17 points, Gasol had 16 points and four blocks and Zach Randolph finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks .
"We got stops on seven of the last eight possessions. Going down the stretch the intensity was good. We were pretty solid in there," said Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger.
Following Monday's tilt, the Grizzlies are off until Friday night when they begin a home-and-home series with the Rockets in Houston.
The Grizzlies are moving in the right direction, while the Pelicans are sliding in the wrong one.
New Orleans has lost eight in a row and hasn't tasted victory since a Jan. 3 road win over the Boston Celtics.
Injuries have played a role in the Pelicans' demise. Leading scorer Ryan Anderson is out, possibly for the season, with a herniated disc in his back. Jrue Holiday is sidelined with a stress fracture in his right tibia.
Jason Smith was added to the list on Saturday. The team announced Saturday that an MRI revealed Smith suffered cartilage damage in his knee and he'll be out indefinitely.
"There will come a time when guys are all healthy, but we can't wait for that," Pelicans guard Austin Rivers said.
The Pelicans' losing streak reached eight with a 97-87 home loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Anthony Davis was amazing with 31 points and 17 rebounds. Tyreke Evans chipped in 14 points off the bench, while Al-Farouq Aminu scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards.
The Pelicans have won both of their matchups with the Grizzlies this season. New Orleans has taken two of its last three in Memphis.