National Basketball Association
Memphis at Cleveland
When: 4:30 PM ET, Sunday, December 21, 2014
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
After a much-needed day off, the Memphis Grizzlies look to add to the best start in franchise history when they travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers on Sunday. Memphis aims to bounce back after having a six-game winning streak snapped in a 103-97 home loss to Chicago on Friday - the Grizzlies' fifth game in eight days. The Cavaliers held on for a 95-91 win over Brooklyn on Friday, marking only their second victory in five games since an eight-game winning streak.
The Grizzlies have played six overtime periods over their past five games, and they ran out of steam against the Bulls. "(It) was a game where we didn't have enough effort due in large part to very tired legs," Memphis coach Dave Joerger told reporters. "The minutes have added up on us." The Cavaliers, who are 2-6 against Western Conference opponents, have won seven of their last eight home games overall and are 14-3 at home against the Grizzlies.
TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, SportSouth (Memphis), FSN Ohio (Cleveland)
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (21-5): Memphis maintains a defense-first mentality but has more offensive firepower than in seasons past thanks to point guard Mike Conley (17.8 points, 6.2 assists) and big men Marc Gasol (19.6 points, 7.9 rebounds) and Zach Randolph (16.1 points, 11.4 rebounds). The Grizzlies have questions in the backcourt at the moment with starting guard Tony Allen (7.7 points) having missed the past two games with an eye injury and backup point guard Beno Udrih (7.3 points) questionable after leaving the Chicago game with a jammed finger. Allen is especially important, because he is the Grizzlies' defensive stopper and likely would guard LeBron James.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (15-10): The Cavaliers got an unexpected boost from reserve Mike Miller on Friday, as the veteran sharpshooter returned after missing seven games with concussion and poured in 21 points on seven 3-pointers, surpassing his season total entering the game. If Miller can continue to be an outside shooting threat and give the Cavs valuable minutes, it could help keep James (25.3 points, 7.7 assists, 5.4 rebounds) fresh for late-game situations. James' top complements, Kyrie Irving (19.8 points, 5.2 assists) and Kevin Love (17.1 points, 10.6 rebounds), have been prone to disappear at times and need to be more consistent for Cleveland to contend.
1. Memphis is 17-1 when shooting for a higher percentage than the opposition.
2. Randolph is tied with Washington's John Wall for the league lead with 16 double-doubles, while Love is tied for sixth with 14.
3. James has scored in double figures in 596 consecutive games dating to Jan. 6, 2007.
PREDICTION: Grizzlies 99, Cavaliers 97
Stats and Records