Riding a scoring surge even after losing their star center, the Memphis Grizzlies hardly resemble the offensively challenged club that last faced the Phoenix Suns in December.
The Suns are also far from where they stood at that time.
Seeking their fifth win in six games, the visiting Grizzlies look to keep putting up big numbers Saturday night against a Phoenix team trying to avoid a team-record 14th straight defeat.
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Memphis was inept offensively during a 21-19 start, averaging a Western Conference-worst 95.9 points and ranking second-to-last with a 42.9 field-goal percentage. Since then, the club is third in the NBA in shooting (48.8) and 10th in scoring (106.0) while winning 13 of 17.
Marc Gasol had been the catalyst of that outburst, averaging 19.6 points over an 11-game stretch before going down for the season with a broken foot. The Grizzlies, though, have scored 108.6 and shot 49.3 percent in winning four of five without the two-time All-Star.
Mike Conley has averaged 20.2 points and made 11 for 24 from 3-point range in his last six games. P.J. Hairston scored 21, Vince Carter had 19 and Conley added 17 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday when Memphis capped a sweep of a home-and-home set with a 112-95 road win.
Hairston has totaled 38 points while sinking 9 of 16 from beyond the arc in his last two games, while Zach Randolph is scoring 17.9 per game on 51.5 percent shooting over his past seven.
There's little reason to believe Memphis (34-23) can't keep it going as it plays the third of a seven-game stretch against opponents currently with losing records. Phoenix (14-44) gives up a league-high 47.3 field-goal percentage and ranks 29th with 107.6 points allowed per game.
Making matters worse, the Suns are surrendering an average of 118 points and a 49.1 shooting percentage over the past six of a franchise record-tying 13-game losing streak.
On pace for its worst finish since going 16-66 in its 1968-69 NBA debut, Phoenix allowed Brooklyn to shot 49.3 percent in Thursday's 116-106 home loss that dropped them to 2-28 since Dec. 20. Mirza Teletovic led the Suns with a season-high 30 points and 11 rebounds.
''It's tough, man. Nobody likes losing and we're trying to figure it out,'' the fourth-year forward said. ''We just have to bring more energy and be more aggressive.''
Teletovic has been a bright spot, scoring 17.9 per game while hitting 23 of 54 (42.6 percent) from 3-point range in his last eight. He contributed 14 points and six rebounds in a reserve role in a 95-93 loss at Memphis on Dec. 6, when Phoenix was in the midst of a 11-14 start.
Conley and Randolph totaled just 22 points in that contest for Memphis, which hadn't yet begun to soar offensively. It needed a dunk at the buzzer off an inbounds play from Courtney Lee to Jeff Green, both no longer with the team.
Now the Grizzlies will try to extend Phoenix's team-record eight-game home slide. They've won eight in a row in this series, though the last two have been decided by a total of three points.
Memphis' Tony Allen could miss his fourth straight game because of a sore left knee.