Two of the worst teams in the NBA try to snap losing streaks when the Atlanta Hawks visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. Atlanta has dropped three straight games and five of its last six, but that pales in comparison to the Grizzlies, who have lost five in a row and 16 of their past 17.
Memphis center Marc Gasol is stunned at this season’s collapse and trying not to let his attitude be affected. “In the good times and the tough times, you have to be consistent with who you are and what you stand for,” Gasol told the Commercial Appeal. “It’s not ideal, it’s not what you want, but it’s my responsibility to deal with it. I‘m not going to quit. I‘m not going to hide. I‘m going to stand in front of the team and take as many hits as I must in order to get us right.” The Hawks are also going through tougher times than expected as they own the worst record in the NBA. Atlanta’s streak of 10 consecutive playoff appearances is in serious jeopardy as its struggles continued with Thursday’s 105-91 loss to a Detroit squad that had dropped seven in a row.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta, Memphis)
ABOUT THE HAWKS (6-22): Promising rookie forward John Collins (shoulder) returned from a six-game absence and recorded 15 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes against Detroit. “For his first game back, I‘m really pleased how he played,” coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters. “We’ll keep ramping him up, but it’s great to have him back.” Forward Ersan Ilyasova scored 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting against the Pistons for his third 20-point effort in four games.
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (8-20): Memphis has dealt with offensive issues since losing point guard Mike Conley to an Achilles’ tendon injury but was especially poor during the first half of Wednesday’s 93-87 loss to Washington. The Grizzlies set season lows for points in the first quarter (12) and first half (29) during the defeat, marking the fourth time they have scored fewer than 90 points in eight contests this month. Shooting guard Andrew Harrison was a bright spot with a season-best 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting and is averaging 18 on 11-of-15 shooting over his last two games.
1. The Hawks have won each of their last three visits to Memphis.
2. Grizzlies G Tyreke Evans (hip) is questionable after being scratched from the lineup prior to Thursday’s game.
3. Atlanta C Dewayne Dedmon (leg) is expected to miss his ninth straight contest.
PREDICTION: Grizzlies 88, Hawks 87