The Memphis Grizzlies no longer have the best record in the NBA, but they are still dangerous at home.
The Grizzlies will put their 22-game regular season home winning streak to the test Friday versus the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.
Memphis had won five in a row and nine of its last 10 games until Wednesday’s 105-96 loss to the Houston Rockets in the finale of a four-game road trip. The Rockets led for the final 38 minutes of the game and by as many as 27 points in the second half.
Houston recorded 30 points on 21 Memphis turnovers and had a 36-22 scoring advantage in the third quarter. It didn’t matter Memphis shot 51.3 percent and scored 28 of the 39 points in the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies couldn’t overcome the tall deficit like they did against Sacramento on Nov. 13, when they battled back from 26 points down. It was the largest come-from-behind win in franchise history.
San Antonio will close out a four-game road trip (2-1) Friday and hopes to rebound from Wednesday’s 95-93 overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
The Spurs didn’t record a field goal in overtime until Danny Green hit a right corner 3-pointer with 1:38 left, pulling the defending champions within 95-93. Manu Ginobili missed a pair of potentially go-ahead 3-pointers in the final 1:06, including one in the last five seconds to seal the outcome.
“We fought. We battled. Learn from it, move forward and fix the mistakes we made,” said Green, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lakers (5-14) finish a three-game trip on Friday by visiting the Boston Celtics (5-11).
Boston is a high-scoring squad, on par with the Lakers (almost 104 points a game), with a tendency to fall out of games in the fourth quarter. The Lakers typically have had more troubles in the third quarter.
The Celtics aren’t very good defensively, giving up an average of 107.3 points a game, still less than the Lakers’ 111.1.
The Lakers will play without Xavier Henry (Achilles’ tendon), Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg).
Even when both teams are down and out, there’s always something special about a Lakers-Celtics game.
The Celtics have a number of scorers, which helps make them difficult to defend.
Jeff Green is the team’s leading scorer at an average of 19 points a game. He’s shooting 44% from the field and 30.6% from three-point range.
Wesley Johnson will likely get the assignment against Green. Johnson has played some of his best basketball of the season in recent games, although he struggled Wednesday against the Washington Wizards.
Johnson’s offense comes and goes but more important, the Lakers want him to be a consistent, top-notch defender.
Rajon Rondo doesn’t regularly look to score, but he’s still one of the best playmakers in the league. His focus is setting up his long list of scorers, including Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Evan Turner, Brandon Bass, Marcus Thornton and Green.
The Celtics can put up some points, which is why the Lakers need to give an even greater effort defensively.
Lakers center Jordan Hill is an important player Friday, with his offensive rebounding and streaky jump shot. The Lakers’ spacing improves dramatically when Hill is hitting from the outside.
Friday 12/6/2014 NBA releases:
Spurs vs Grizzlies
Lakers vs Celtics