April 04, 2015

The Memphis Grizzlies keep finding ways to lose, while the Washington Wizards may have found the short-term solution to an injury issue.

The Grizzlies look to rebound from a disheartening loss when the Wizards visit on Monday night without one of their top offensive weapons.

Washington (10-12) snapped a two-game skid with Saturday's 114-111 win at Dallas, the second of a four-game trip that's been played without second-leading scorer Bradley Beal.

Top scorer John Wall has done his best to keep the Wizards relevant, averaging 27.3 points and 10.9 assists while the team has won four of its last eight. Wall, though, has played the previous two without his back-court mate Beal, who won't return for at least two weeks because of a right leg injury.

Without Beal's 19.8 points per game, Otto Porter stepped up with a career-high 28 against the Mavericks a day after scoring 15 in a 107-105 loss at New Orleans.

The third-year small forward averages just 12.6 points but has scored in double figures in six straight while hauling in 8.3 rebounds per game in that time. He made 11 of 18 shots against Dallas, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range.

With Beal out, Porter says it's up to the entire offense to pick up the slack.

"Of course," Porter said after the Wizards improved to 4-1 when he scores at least 17 points. "I'm speaking for the whole team. Everybody has to step up."

Washington's fourth and fifth games this season shooting better than 50 percent have come without Beal. The Wizards have shot a combined 50.9 percent in their last two, and they hit 14 of 29 from 3-point range against the Mavericks with a season-high 33 assists.

In a season full of blowout losses, the Grizzlies (13-12) might have suffered their most crushing defeat Sunday when they wasted a 16-point lead in a 100-97 loss at Miami.

Memphis coughed up an eight-point advantage in the final three minutes and didn't trail in the second half until the last 30 seconds. The Heat ended the game on an 11-0 run to hand the Grizzlies their third loss in four games.

"We had a great chance to win," coach Dave Joerger said. "We had all kinds of open shots but we didn't make them. We needed to make one shot in the final two and a half minutes. We didn't. They needed to score in about six straight possessions, and they did."

The loss was only the second by single digits this season for the Grizzlies, whose other 10 defeats have come by an average of 23.1 points.

A change to the starting lineup seemed to boost the offense as Memphis had its highest field-goal percentage in 14 games at 51.9. Shortly before tipoff, Tony Allen was ruled out with a right knee injury and Zach Randolph was replaced in the lineup by Matt Barnes.

Barnes wound up being the Grizzlies' second-leading scorer with 13 points behind Jeff Green's 26, while Randolph added 12 in his first game as a reserve since March 23, 2013.

Washington has won the last two in the series, including a 92-83 victory in Memphis on April 4 that ended a nine-game losing streak at FedEx Forum.

While the Wizards have won three of their last four road games, the Grizzlies have lost four of six at home.

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