Jazz-Grizzlies Preview

The Memphis Grizzlies have displayed a lackluster offense in two defeats against the Utah Jazz but have been a more dynamic team since the latest matchup - even with their roster makeover.

The Grizzlies will try to avoid another poor performance against the Jazz on Friday night while sending Utah to a season-high fifth consecutive defeat.

Memphis (36-24) averaged 83.0 points and shot 36.6 percent in two visits to Utah but took the Jazz to overtime in a 92-87 defeat Jan. 2. The Grizzlies head into this matchup averaging 105.8 points in a 15-5 stretch - a nearly 10-point increase from their 95.9 mark in the first 40 games - and 110.6 while winning four of five.

They've been productive despite losing leading scorer Marc Gasol to a season-ending foot injury last month and Tony Allen (knee) missing the past six games.

Memphis has also continued to work Chris Andersen, P.J. Hairston and Lance Stephenson into the mix. All three were brought over before the trade deadline.

Mike Conley has aided the Grizzlies by averaging 19.0 points on 50.8 percent shooting in his last nine games while going 15 of 34 on 3-pointers. He made all three attempts from beyond the arc and 9 of 12 overall while scoring 24 in a 104-98 victory against Sacramento on Wednesday.

Zach Randolph had 19 points in the opener to a three-game homestand and has averaged 18.1 in 12 games since the beginning of February, up from 13.7 in his first 43.

"We're getting closer but we've got a long way to go," Conley said. "We're happy with getting these wins but we're not satisfied. We've got to keep on pushing forward, get the guys acclimated to all our new plays and to our new system."

While seeking a fourth consecutive home win, the Grizzles will try to hand the Jazz their eighth loss in 10 games. Utah (28-32) has fallen to ninth in the Western Conference and dropped its fifth in a row on the road Wednesday, 104-94 to Toronto.

Starting guard Rodney Hood suffered what was deemed a minor head injury with 8:23 remaining in the second quarter.

"It's huge," forward Gordon Hayward said. "He's another guy who can make plays for himself, make plays for our team, and the defense has to respect him. ... It was a bad loss for us."

Hood's status is unclear for Utah's attempt at its first season sweep of the Grizzlies since 2008-09 and its third consecutive win in Memphis. The Jazz are in a stretch where they're playing nine of 13 on the road, and they conclude a four-game trip Saturday against New Orleans.

Hood, averaging 14.7 points in his second season, scored a career-best 32 with a career high-tying eight rebounds in the victory in January.

Conley has shot 31.7 percent against Utah but has still scored 35 points. Randolph has totaled 18 points while missing 13 of 22 shots.

The Jazz have held the Grizzles to less than 90 points in each of the last four matchups dating to their most recent visit to Memphis, a 93-82 victory last March.

Utah hasn't lost five in a row since a nine-game skid Nov. 21-Dec. 8, 2014.

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