By Dave Johnson
Coming back from the West coast the Washington Wizards have had this feeling before. The Wizards return home tonight to play the Memphis Grizzlies after a road trip that produced two wins just like their West coast journey in January.
Here is today’s Wizards Report:
Coverage of the Wizards and Grizzlies begins tonight at 6:45 on the Washington Wizards Radio Network.
Look for Fast Break on the Monumental Network at 5:00. Glenn Consor joins me to break down the matchup with the Grizzlies.
The Wizards enjoyed wins in Phoenix and Los Angeles, but suffered losses at Charlotte at Golden State. A 2-2 mark on a four-game road trip is acceptable, but the Wizards are frustrated with the knowledge it could have been even better. It is exactly how the Wizards felt after going 2-3 on five game West coast road trip in January.
“It was a good trip. We came out of it going 2-2. We were disappointed with how we played in Charlotte and with how we played in the first half here tonight, but overall, coming out of a West coast trip and being able go .500 is a step in the right direction for us.”
On both trips the Wizards had chances in every game. On this just-completed trip the loss to the Bobcats was especially frustrating because it stopped a three-game winning streak. In Golden State, as heard in the Wizards Report, John Wall said he felt “like he let the team down” by getting his second technical in the third quarter when the Wizards were trying to stage a rally.
As a team, the Wizards are accountable for their actions. They have a good track record of bouncing back from disappointments this season. It is with that in mind that the Wizards prepare to face the Grizzlies at home before heading out for two more road games this week in Oklahoma City and Orlando.
The Grizzlies held off the Celtics Saturday night in Memphis 110-106 despite a strong 33 point 4th quarter by the Celtics. Jerryd Bayless led the Grizzlies off the bench scoring 30 points. Memphis earned the win with a tight rotation of eight players.
The 106 points given up by the Grizzlies Saturday night was the most given up since they allowed 122 points by the Houston Rockets on Dec. 22.
The Grizzlies lead the NBA in points allowed per game at 89.2. The last time a team held opponents to an average below 90 points per game over an 82-game regular season was in 2005/2006 when both the Grizzlies (88.5) and San Antonio Spurs (88.8) accomplished the feat.
Marc Gasol is out indefinitely after re-aggravating an abodiminal tear suffered Friday night. This is a huge blow to the Grizzlies' lineup as Gasol is averaging 14.3 PPG and 7.8 RPG this season. Gasol scored a game-winning tip-in last Wednesday night to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime. Gasol’s tip-in left just .8 seconds on the clock.
The win over the Celtics was the Grizzlies tenth straight win at home. They have dropped their last three on the road, but for the season are 19-14 away from Memphis. The Grizzlies are trying to finish the season with a winning road record for the first time in franchise history.
Memphis defeated the Wizards back on February 1 at the Fed Ex Forum 85-76. Five Grizzlies players scored in double figures including a team high 18 points by Mike Conley, while Memphis’ defense allowed just one Wizards player to reach double digits (Nene 14 points).
With last night’s loss by the Utah Jazz, the Memphis Grizzlies clinched a playoff spot. Memphis currently sits at the 5th spot in the West, but is just a half game behind the Clippers, and a full game behind the red hot Denver Nuggets. The Grizzlies are 5.5 GB of the 1st place San Antonio Spurs, who also lead the Southwest Division.