The Memphis Grizzlies are on the verge of accomplishing something they haven't done in almost 13 months. All the Grizzlies have to do to get to .500 is defeat a New York Knicks squad headed toward an all-too-familiar destination.
The Grizzlies will look to reach the break-even mark Wednesday whenthey visit the Knicks in the second game of a back-to-back set for both teams.
Memphis (23-24) moved within a game of .500 -- and continued cementing itself as the favorite for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference -- by beating the visiting Denver Nuggets 104-96 on Tuesday.
The Knicks, meanwhile, frittered away a 13-point lead and fell to the host Charlotte Hornets, 97-92.
The Grizzlies registered their 10th win in 13 games this month. It's the first 10-win month for Memphis since the team went 11-6 in December 2016.
The Grizzlies will try to reach another, more pivotal milestone Wednesday. Memphis, which hasn't been this close to .500 since Oct. 27 (1-2), is aiming to get to .500 for the first time since it was 18-18 on Dec. 31, 2018.
First-year head coach Taylor Jenkins wasn't placing any extra emphasis on the Wednesday game for the Grizzlies, who opened January in a virtual tie for 11th place in the Western Conference but now hold a 2 1/2-game lead over the ninth-place San Antonio Spurs.
"To me, it's just a game, and to our guys, it's just a game," Jenkins said Tuesday night. "You never know what (Wednesday's) game is going to bring, but if we just keep focusing on our habits night in and night out, as I have said all along, more good things happen."
The Knicks' latest attempt to build some momentum fizzled Tuesday, when their late comeback bid fell short after Marcus Morris Sr.'s potential four-point play -- which would have narrowed the Hornets' lead to five points with 1:56 left -- was overturned by an offensive foul on Morris.
New York was looking to win back-to-back games for just the third time this season and the first time since a season-high, three-game winning streak from Dec. 26-Jan. 1.
"I disagreed with the call," Morris said afterward, "but that's just down the stretch. We should have given ourselves a better chance to win."
With the loss, the Knicks (13-35) fell into a tie with the Cleveland Cavaliers for 13th place in the Eastern Conference. Only the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks have worse records than New York, which is likely headed for the lottery for the seventh consecutive season.
The Grizzlies are 4-2 in the second game of back-to-back sets but have won each of their past four back-ends. The Knicks are 1-5 in the second game of back-to-back sets, earning their only win by beating the Warriors 124-122 in overtime on Dec. 11.
--Field Level Media