NEW YORK (AP) – The New Jersey Nets are feeling good after winning as many games this past week as they won the previous four weeks combined. Both those victories came on their home court, however, and now they’re about to take to the road, where they’ve struggled mightily.
Embarking on a road-heavy stretch of the schedule, the Nets look to avoid losing their 11th straight away from New Jersey on Tuesday night when they face the Memphis Grizzlies.
New Jersey (8-20) will play five of six games on the road, and 10 of its next 13 away from the Prudential Center. This doesn’t bode well for the Nets, who have lost 10 straight road games and are 6-49 away from New Jersey since the start of last season.
Beginning this stretch in Memphis could also be problematic, as the Grizzlies have won six of seven at home – including victories over the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami.
New Jersey will start this portion of its schedule with a bit of momentum, however, after beating Atlanta 89-82 on Sunday. It was the Nets’ second win in three games following a 2-13 stretch.
Devin Harris led New Jersey with 22 points, while Stephen Graham and Sasha Vujacic each had season highs of 10 points.
“It was a good feeling to put together the right formula to pick up the win,” Harris told the Nets’ official website. “It’s not going to be the same thing every night, but it felt good to hone some of the things we were working on and see them come through.”
The Grizzlies (12-16), meanwhile, are feeling dejected following Saturday’s 112-106 overtime loss at San Antonio.
Playing against the team with the league’s best record and without leading scorer Rudy Gay, who was serving a one-game suspension, Memphis nearly had enough to pull off the upset. O.J. Mayo hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 21 seconds left to force overtime, but the Grizzlies struggled in the extra session, missing five of seven shots and turning the ball over twice.
“We should’ve won the game as we played so well,” Mayo said. “Now it was all for no reason.”
Mayo led Memphis with 27 points, while Zach Randolph had 24 points and season-best 21 rebounds.
Mayo got the start Saturday, his first since Nov. 19, but will likely go back to the bench with Gay returning from his suspension. This seems to be advantageous for the Grizzlies, who are 8-6 with Mayo coming off the bench, while 4-10 with him in the starting lineup.
Gay, who averages 21.0 points, was suspended after being ejected in Friday’s loss to Houston after sprinting down court midway through the fourth quarter to shove Luis Scola in the back, knocking him to the ground. The two had been tangled up on the other end of the court moments earlier.
Gay averaged 25.0 points on 51.3 percent shooting in helping the Grizzlies sweep the two-game season series from the Nets in 2009-10. Harris averaged 22.5 points in those games for New Jersey.
© 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.