|Nets Try to Get Back On Track in Memphis|
|Written by TheSpread|
|Monday, 12 March 2007 08:00|
NBA Basketball: New Jersey Nets at Memphis Grizzlies - Nets Favored
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The Nets (28-35) try to avoid matching their longest skid of the season when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies (16-48).
New Jersey has lost its last three to Dallas, Houston and San Antonio by a combined 50 points, dropping it to 0-4 on its season-high six-game road trip. The Nets, though, finish up their Western Conference swing with games against Memphis and New Orleans (28-35).
New Jersey scored only 33 first-half points and finished with its lowest point total since December in Saturday's 93-77 loss to San Antonio, the team's fifth straight on the road. The Nets were held under 45 percent shooting for the fourth straight game, going 34-for-81 (42.0 percent) from the field.
All-Star point guard Jason Kidd, ejected in the third quarter Saturday for arguing with officials, is averaging just 8.0 points per game on 27.8 percent shooting during the Nets' skid. New Jersey leading scorer Vince Carter is shooting 33.0 percent during that span and has been held under 20 points in three of his last four contests. He averages 24.9 points per game on the season.
The struggles have dropped the Nets into 10th place in the East, but they are still in the thick of the battle for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
"We shouldn't worry where we fall in the standings," Carter said. "We just have to fight because we're a better team than what we've been showing."
New Jersey will try to break out of its slump against a Memphis club that recently snapped its own losing streak.
The Grizzlies ended a six-game slide with a 115-107 win over Charlotte on Saturday, their fifth in 33 road games this season. Pau Gasol led the Grizzlies with 31 points and 15 rebounds for his 21st double-double in 41 contests.
Memphis is the only team in the NBA without back-to-back wins, going 0-15 following a victory this season.
"I think we've got to be proud of ourselves and try to carry it on," Gasol said. "We just can't be happy and satisfied because we got one win. One win in this league doesn't mean anything. We have to be a little more consistent."
Gasol is averaging 20.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while shooting 53.0 percent from the field, all career highs. Since Gasol returned from a broken foot that sidelined him for the first six weeks of the season, the Grizzlies are 8-13 when their star forward records a double-double - 3-17 when he does not.
The Nets recently welcomed back their own injured star. Richard Jefferson will play in his third straight game Monday after missing 21 while recovering from ankle surgery.
Jefferson, the Nets' second-leading scorer last season at 19.5 points per game, has shown signs of rust in his first two games back, totaling nine points on 4-of-16 shooting in 51 minutes.
"I felt all right tonight," Jefferson said Saturday. "A little bit of everything felt better."
New Jersey has won two straight meetings with Memphis since losing the previous five. Carter scored 37 points and hit a career-high nine 3-pointers to lead the Nets to a 105-92 win in the last matchup Dec. 11.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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