Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks
When: 7:30 PM CT
Where: American Airlines Arena
How to Listen: 92.9 ESPN Memphis
How to Watch: FoxSports Southeast
More on the Mavs: Mavs Moneyball
Recently From Dallas:
The Dallas Mavericks now sit at 14-12 after a blowout loss to the Indiana Pacers. Dallas actually led 47-45 at halftime, but the Pacers jumped out to an eleven point lead going into the fourth quarter and later led by 20+ and took control of the game. Monte Ellis faced his former Dallas teammates and had 19 points in the match. On the Dallas side of things, Raymond Felton led the Mavs with 16 points, and Dirk Nowitzki had 13. The Mavs had only 16 assists as a team to the Pacers' 28, and Dallas shot only 10 free throws while the Pacers shot 17 of them. Both teams shot over 25 threes, but the Pacers made 11 of them to the Mavericks' 8. Now, Dallas comes home hoping to get a home victory against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Recently From Memphis:
Things have been inconsistent for Memphis, to say the least. After Monday night's blowout win, the Grizzlies stumbled all Wednesday night into another loss against an above .500 team. On the night, Marc Gasol had only 8 points, and Mike Conley was an abysmal 3-14 from the field, including 1-8 from three. Courtney Lee had a great night with 18 points and 6 assists, but it wasn't enough to carry the Grizz to a win. Off the bench, Zach Randolph had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Unfortunately, Tony Allen was unable to play again Wednesday night after hurting his knee Sunday during warm ups at Miami. Now, Memphis looks to find their mojo in Dallas on both sides of the court.
Keys to Victory:
1. Get Mike Conley and Marc Gasol Going
Mike Conley has not been the All-Star snub that we have all grown accustomed to seeing in the past. This was why it was particularly painful to watch as Mike Conley was 1-8 from three Wednesday night and only had 8 points in 34 minutes of play. In addition, Marc Gasol has been inconsistent at times as well. In Wednesday night's game, he had only 8 points on 4-10 shooting. In Memphis losses, Gasol only averages 13.9 points, while in wins he averages 18.1 points. It's simple: Marc Gasol needs to be more aggressive. He needs to take more shots, and he needs to be the All-Star that he was last season. In the same way, Mike Conley needs to simply score more. Part of his problems could be blamed on his face injury, which understandably could still be affecting him mentally. However, Conley is not playing well enough on either end of the floor, and he needs to step up as a leader of this team. If Mike and Marc don't play well, the Grizzlies just aren't frankly very good.
2. Limit Dirk Nowitzki
Despite being 37 years old, Dirk has still got it. He's averaging 17.1 PPG and 7.1 rebounds. It'll be interesting to see if Dave Joerger puts Jeff Green on Dirk for a majority of the game, or if he turns more to Zach Randolph. Either situation presents an advantage for Dallas, it seems. But the Grizzlies have to find a way to limit Dirk, who has given the Grizzlies problems in the past. Perhaps Joerger will deploy Marc Gasol some on Dirk as well. Whatever the case, Memphis needs to make sure Dirk doesn't go off for 25+ tonight.
3. Win the Third quarter
Many games, the Grizzlies have come out sleepwalking in the third quarter. In fact, Memphis allows 27.3 opponent points on average in the third quarter, and the Grizzlies only score 23.1 points themselves in the third period. This is a habit that has to be broken if the Grizzlies want to progress and move forward. Grit n' Grind may be fading, but Memphis' effort should still be there. In the end, it's about who wants it more. And in the third quarter, Memphis hasn't wanted it more. If the Grizzlies lose tonight's third quarter, we might be looking at another Memphis loss. It's critical that Memphis comes out in the third quarter with some fire, no matter the halftime score.
Tonight, the Grizzlies face a division rival in the Dallas Mavericks. If Mike Conley and Marc Gasol at least show up more than they did Wednesday night, then that bodes well for Memphis. It's crucial that Memphis wins the third quarter and cuts down on turnovers, which have been a huge problem as of late. Dallas will be looking to bounce back from a road loss, and they'll have the home crowd behind them. Memphis' veteran squad will need to step up, and Marc and Mike will need to score some big numbers tonight. The experiment of small ball for Memphis continues in Dallas as the Grizzlies look to get to two games above .500.