Grizzlies 'figuring it out' as they prepare for Hawks
A change of scenery has done wonders for Avery Bradley in Memphis.
The veteran guard has enjoyed his five highest-scoring games of the season since he was obtained by Memphis at the trade deadline. Bradley will try to carry the momentum forward on Wednesday when the Grizzlies put their three-game winning streak on the line in a visit to Atlanta.
Bradley scored 21 in Sunday's 105-97 win over Orlando. He is averaging 16.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists since joining the club on Feb. 7 in a deal that sent JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple to the Los Angeles Clippers. Bradley had a career-high 33 points on Feb. 12 against San Antonio in his second game with the Grizzlies.
Although Memphis turned over a lot of its roster at the deadline, it has gone 5-4 since the All-Star Game and has won four of its last five.
"We're still figuring it out and it's not always pretty," guard Mike Conley said. "It's a work in progress."
It hasn't been a problem for Conley. The veteran point guard scored 26 on Sunday and needs 113 points to pass Marc Gasol as the team's all-time leading scorer. Only two active NBA players have played more seasons with one franchise - Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas and Udonis Haslem of Miami.
Conley has done well against the Hawks. He had 16 points and 11 assists against Atlanta in the first meeting and averages 15.6 points and 7.1 assists in 17 career games against the Hawks.
Atlanta has been led by forward John Collins, who has three straight double-doubles and tallied 56 points and 30 rebounds over the last two games. Collins has 27 double-doubles and five in his last six games.
Rookie guard Trae Young has seen his scoring drop off since the 49-point performance in the four-overtime game loss to Chicago on March 1. He had 10 points and 10 assists on Sunday, his 23rd double-double. On Saturday night, Young became the team's first rookie to post a triple-double and the team's first player since Al Horford in 2015.
Some of Young's scoring slack was made up Sunday by rookie Kevin Huerter, who poured in 27 points - two shy of his season high - in the 128-116 win over the Pelicans. Huerter scored 17 points in the second quarter and his big 3-point basket and no-look pass that led to a Collins dunk allowed the Hawks to keep the momentum in the second half.
The Hawks are playing with some minute restrictions late in the season, but coach Lloyd Pierce said that has been to the team's advantage.
"We're trying to balance Kevin's minutes, John's minutes, Dewayne's (Dedmon) minutes," Pierce said. "I thought it actually worked in our favor, not having to have anyone out on the floor for too long. Dewayne was great, Trae did a good job containing penetration and John ended up with four blocks. I thought our guys responded extremely well."
This will be the second and final game of the season between the two clubs. Memphis won the first meeting 131-117 in October. That was one of the 15 games that Collins missed to start the season because of an ankle injury.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 12, 2019