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Sports previews for a website

Published on 2nd February 2016

Memphis at Phoenix

The Memphis Grizzlies are enjoying their west coast trip and may have a good time Saturday when they invade Talking Stick Resort Arena.  As the Suns struggle with the third worst record in the NBA, Memphis is rolling along in fifth place in the west. The Grizzlies just blasted the Lakers and are 7-3 over the last 10. Memphis has won 13 of last last 18 and two losses were in overtime.
Even so, the Grizzlies have struggled on the road this year (12-14). Even though Memphis has won the last five in Phoenix, the Grizzlies are still 11-28 all-time against the Suns in Phoenix.
Memphis got a two-point win on a last second alley oop slam the last time these two teams met in Memphis. The Grizzlies struggled with the Suns and may do so again. Marc Gasol led Memphis with 22 in that game, but is inactive this week due to injury. Mike Conley has picked up the slack, averaging 20 points per game since Gasol has been out. Conley also leads the league in assist to turnover ration at 4.01. Conley is Memphis' leading scorer at 15.1 for the season.
The Suns are riding a 13-game losing streak and they are 2-28 since Christmas. The Suns have not beaten Memphis since February 9, 2013.
Phoenix does have one bright spot, which is their backcourt, as guard Eric Bledsoe is averaging 20.4 ppg, and 6.1 assists. Fellow guard Brandon Knight is scoring 19.7 a game and five assists.

Cleveland at Utah

Cleveland continues to roll along with the best record in the East and their road swings west Monday when the Heat plays at Utah. The Heat has won its last two, but is only 6-4 over the last 10 games.
The last time these two played King James took over in the fourt quarter and the Heat won 118-114 in Cleveland. Lebron James scored 17 of his 31 in the final period,  Kevin Love added 22 and hit his 600th career 3-pointer. Mo Williams had 29 points on an 8 for 9 shooting night. Alec Burks had 22 for Utah. Cleveland trailed in the fourth quarter but pulled away at the end.
It has been Kylie Irving that has turned on the Heat lately after missing several games early on. He has 20 or more points in the last seven games, and in 16 of the last 20.
Meanwhile the Jazz continue to struggle. Utah is 4-10 over its last 14 games and has scored more than 100 in only two of those games.  Even so, at 30-35 Utah is not that far out of contention for a playoff spot.
The Jazz will be missing Burk, who has been out since late December. Gordon Hayward has been taking up some of the scoring clack, with 20 or more points in the last 35 games, and he currently leads the team with 20 points per game. Rodney Hook and Derrick Favors are both averaging around 15 per game for the Jazz.

Warriors at Mavericks

Golden State continues its relentless march through the NBA, and the next stop is in Dallas. The good for Dallas is that the game is at home, but that's bad news too as the Warriors have a better road record (29-6) than many teams have at home.
Dallas is one of the few teams to have beaten Golden State this year, and that was in late December in Dallas. In that game the Warriors were without Stephen Curry, the league's leading scorer at 30.5 points per game.
Golden State won the rematch in California with Klay Thompson scoring 45.  Thompson is 13th in the NBA in scoring at 22 points per game. Golden State has won eight of the last night regular season games with Dallas.
It will be the first this season the Warriors have returned to a place they lost the last time they played there.  The Warriors have won the last six and have scored at least 123 points in the last four. The Warriors have won handily against top tier teams, but have lost to the lowly Lakers and Pistons in the last month.
Dallas lost by one at Cleveland earlier this week, and is 3-7 over the last 10 as it tries to hold on to the last available playoff spot.
Dallas is led by Dirk Nowitzki at 18.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.  Chandler Parsons and Deron Williams are averaging 13 points for the Mavs. Seven-footer Salah Mejri had a double double in his first career start last week.

Reds at White Sox

Two of the hottest teams in baseball are battling in Chicago and the third game of the series between the White Sox and Red Sox is Wednesday. Chicago won round one on Monday by a 4-1 score. Before the series Chicago won eight of its last 10 after splitting four game with the Orioles. The Red Sox had also won eight of the last 10 before the series started.
The White Sox have the best record in baseball, and the third best era at 2.59, with opposing teams hitting .222, which is also third best.  The White Sox are 17th in runs scored and in batting average, but it is enough so far.
Even so, Chicago continues to tweak its rotation, and will start Erik Johnson against the Reds Wednesday. Johnson was called up from the minors for this game and is slated to become the fifth pitcher in the rotation. He has been with the White Sox for a couple years and has a career record of 7-4 and a 4.17 era.
The Red Sox were 6-7 before their current hot streak began and a lot of that is due to more offensive production.   Boston has the second best era in all of baseball at .280 and has scored 135 runs.  Dustin Pedroia leads Boston with a .321 batting average and there are four every day players hitting over .300.
The Red Sox will have Henry Owens on the mound. He has two appearances this year, but no decisions and an era of 4.82.