High-flying Hawks set for challenge with Grizzlies

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks returned home from a western road trip atop the Eastern Conference standings and they'll try to stay there Wednesday night when they welcome the Memphis Grizzlies to Philips Arena.

The Hawks swept the Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers. They've won five straight, 10 of their last 11 and are a staggering 19-2 since Thanksgiving.

On Monday, the Hawks won their seventh straight on the road, beating the Clippers, 107-98. It was Atlanta's eighth consecutive victory over the highly- vaunted Western Conference.

"We weren't executing and making good decisions early, but our defense put us in a position where we could kind of hang around and keep it at six or eight," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "We made a little run at the end of the second quarter, then the defense maintained its place, and offensively we got into a little bit of a rhythm."

Paul Millsap tallied 23 points, followed by Jeff Teague, who netted 12 of his 20 points in the third quarter as the Hawks dominated the final 15 minutes to break open a close contest and surge to victory.

Teague added nine assists for the Hawks, who also received a 17-point, eight- rebound effort from DeMarre Carroll and 16 points by Al Horford. Pero Antic chipped in 13 off the bench as the Hawks out-scored the Clippers 33-23 in the third.

After Wednesday, the Hawks play five of their next six games on the road.

The Grizzlies have won four of five and begin a quick two-game trip with a stop in New Orleans on Friday to face the Pelicans.

On Monday, the Grizzlies slaughtered the New York Knicks, 105-83, at FedExForum. They beat a short-handed Knicks team without Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. J.R. Smith was pulled after he was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Mike Conley's 22 points and seven assists led the way for the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol and Tony Allen had 14 points each. Courtney Lee added 11 and all 13 players for Memphis scored at least a point.

"We were driving the ball. We were sharing the ball," said Gasol. "We find the open guy and that way gets contagious."

Memphis shot 52.4 percent from the field, 46.7 percent from long range and finished with 25 assists. The Grizzlies finished with a 58-26 advantage in points in the paint and out-rebounded the Knicks, 45-37.

Zach Randolph remained out of the lineup with a knee injury and is listed as questionable on Wednesday.

The Grizzlies swept last season's series, after Atlanta swept the 2012-13 season series. The Hawks are 6-3 in the last nine meetings, but Memphis has taken two of the last three in Georgia.