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Conley, Grizzlies look to get back on track vs. Nets

NEW YORK -- Facing the NBA's best turned into a frustrating experience for the Memphis Grizzlies.

With two days to cope with the disappointment of losing to the Golden State Warriors, the Grizzlies will hope more frustration does not occur against the league's worst team Monday night when they visit the Brooklyn Nets.

The Grizzlies are 8-4 in their last 12 games since losing consecutive close contests to the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards on Jan. 15-Jan. 18.

One of the four losses occurred Friday when the Grizzlies never led in a 122-107 home defeat. Memphis gave up a season high in points against a team it chalked up two wins against earlier this season and also allowed a team to shoot at least 50 percent for the 11th time, doing so after holding San Antonio and Phoenix to a combined 34.9 percent in the previous two games.

Mike Conley led Memphis with 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Conley missed 10 of 16 shots on a night Memphis shot 39.1 percent and is shooting 40.3 percent (21 of 52) in his last four games.

Also struggling in recent games is Marc Gasol. Gasol scored 17 points and is shooting 37.8 percent (14 of 37) in the three games since getting 31 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 3.

"I think it was more than the pace," Gasol said. "I think it was more that we allowed them to be free. We were not proactive defensively. Whatever direction they wanted to run, they ran that way. Every action they wanted to run, they did and they played like a really good team."

Not only will the Grizzlies look for Gasol and Conley to end some recent shooting struggles, they hope coach David Fizdale does not have to watch the end of the game from his office.

Fizdale was ejected in the third quarter as the game was slipping further away from Memphis.

"I lost my cool," Fizdale said. "To leave my team out there fighting and I'm in the back watching it from my office, I just apologize to my team because the main thing I preach is move on to the next play. And I didn't do that."

While Golden State supplements one of the quickest paces in the league with success in several offensive categories, the Nets are the opposite.

Brooklyn gets 101.5 possessions per game but many go to waste since the Nets shoot 44 percent from the field, make 33.6 percent of their 3-point attempts and average a league-worst 17.1 turnovers per game.

Brooklyn's 12-game losing streak is the longest since the 2009-10 season began with 18 straight losses en route to a 12-70 record. It is the Nets' eighth losing streak of at least 12 games.

Brooklyn's last win was Jan. 20 when it scored 143 in New Orleans and stopped an 11-game skid. The Nets are averaging 101.3 points in their last 12 games but in the last seven, the number is 99.3 points per contest.

Brooklyn was held under 100 points for the fifth time in the last seven games when it blew it an 11-point third quarter lead in a 108-99 home loss to the Miami Heat on Friday. It marked Brooklyn's 14th straight home defeat.

"I think we're out there, we're together and we definitely believe we can do that," said Nets center Brook Lopez, who scored 30 points Friday. "I don't think we think it's sort or Groundhog Day or anything like that. We're out there just focused on the moment and on the game."

The Nets are shooting 43.2 percent in this skid and 33.6 percent from 3-point range. Other problem areas are turnovers and ball movements as Brooklyn is averaging 17.3 giveaways compared to 20.3 assists.

"This is a marathon," Brooklyn guard Randy Foye said. "Right now we're going uphill, we're going through a tough stretch where the mind, the body, everything is fatigued. For us you've just got to learn Right now, it's cloudy. It doesn't look too good for us. But if we continue to work together and continue to play for each other, it's going to turn around."

Memphis has won the last four meetings and a win Monday will match its longest winning streak in the series. The Grizzlies won five straight over the Nets Dec. 3, 2003 to Jan. 13, 2006.

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