After an unsuccessful four-game Western trek concluded with a loss at Golden State, the Memphis Grizzlies will host the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, looking to extend their home winning streak to eight games.
Despite 36 points, eight assists and seven rebounds from Ja Morant in the 123-109 loss to the Warriors on Sunday, Memphis went 1-3 on its four-game trip and fell to 7-10 away from home.
The Grizzlies’ starters went 4-for-25 from 3-point range and failed to contain Golden State guards Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson and Donte DiVincenzo, who combined for 75 points with Stephen Curry out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
Memphis is tied with Golden State for the best home record in the Western Conference at 13-2. The Grizzlies’ most recent defeat on their home court came against the Sacramento Kings, 113-109, on Nov. 22 — with Desmond Bane sidelined due to a toe injury and Morant coming off an ankle injury.
Since his return to the starting lineup in a 125-100 win over Phoenix on Friday after a 17-game absence, Bane is averaging 24 minutes per game along with 13 points and three rebounds.
The only game Memphis won on its latest trip was the blowout of the Suns. Bane was one of six Grizzlies to score in double figures vs. Phoenix.
“Real proud of what he’s done the last couple of weeks,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “He’s progressed ahead of schedule.”
Morant has two triple-doubles in his past three home games and is averaging 26.8 points, 7.9 assists and 6.4 rebounds this season.
Dillon Brooks (17.8 ppg), Jaren Jackson (16.6 ppg, six rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game) and Steven Adams (10.3 rpg) round out a talented starting five that can score at will when they play well.
Phoenix has lost three straight games with leading scorer Devin Booker mostly sidelined with a groin injury.
The Suns almost slid past Denver on Christmas Day, but the Nuggets rallied for a 128-125 overtime victory behind Nikola Jokic, who had 41 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists for the 83rd triple-double of his career.
Booker played four minutes and scored two points but exited early after he reinjured his groin.
Chris Paul had 17 points and 16 assists for the Suns. Deandre Ayton added 22 points and 16 rebounds.
Landry Shamet, who had 31 points and six assists in the loss to the Nuggets, has emerged as a legitimate weapon in the absence of Booker. Over his past four games, Shamet has averaged 22.5 points for a Phoenix team that’s lost eight of its past 11 games.
“We’ll be all right,” Shamet said. “The important thing is we’re doing the right things.”
–Field Level Media