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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks Game Preview

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Grizzlies kick off a Texas back-to-back against the new look Mavs

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (36-25, 17-14 Away) vs. Dallas Mavericks (24-36, 16-14 Home)

WHEN: 7:30 PM CT

WHERE: American Airlines Arena in Dallas, TX

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/ 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

Injury Report:

Memphis - None

Dallas - J.J. Barea (Out, Calf), Wesley Matthews (Out, Hip)

Projected Starters:

Grizzlies - Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol

Mavericks - Yogi Ferrell, Seth Curry, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, Nerlens Noel

The Grizzlies come into tonight’s game against Dallas on two days rest after defeating the Phoenix Suns by a score of 130-112.

The first meeting between these two teams was one of the ugliest games of the year, and ironically one of Chandler Parsons’ best games. The Grizzlies walked away with a 80-64 victory but both teams look much different now than they did in that contest in mid November. With a big game against the Houston Rockets tomorrow night, it will be critical that the Grizzlies grab a win against the Mavs to strengthen their chances to grab the 4th seed and home court advantage in the playoffs.

Here are a few things to look at going into tonight’s contest.

Chandler Parsons, The Breakout Game?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Parsons had one of his best games of the year in the first match-up against his former club, scoring 12 points on 4-7 shooting. Unfortunately, Parsons missed time immediately following that game with a bone bruise in his knee and hasn’t looked good since his return. He should come out extremely motivated to prove to the Mavs, and increasingly frustrated Grizzlies fans, that he’s worth the big contract he earned this summer. Tonight’s game won’t come down to whether or not Parsons plays well, but this weekend may or may not factor into whether or not the Grizzlies decide to shut Parsons down for the season.

Who helps out The Core Four?

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Since the All-Star break, the Grizzlies have averaged 109 points per game with 72.3 of those points coming from the combined efforts of Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Tony Allen. It’s been great to see those guys go to work and dominate the way they have, but you also don’t want to wear them down before the playoffs start. Having Brandan Wright back in the rotation after missing the first two games since the break for personal reasons will help take some of the pressure off of Gasol and Randolph. Wright has really come into his own since recovering from injury and should start to see an uptick in his minutes.

Fizdale has experimented lately with Toney Douglas-Mike Conley lineups where Conley plays off the ball, and the results have been great. However, the Grizzlies offense struggles with Conley on the bench. If someone like Troy Daniels, James Ennis, or Vince Carter can get into a rhythm offensively, look for Coach Fizdale to give Conley fewer minutes than the 35 he’s averaging since the break.

Control the First Quarter

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies (23.3) and Mavs (23.9) are the worst two teams in the NBA when it comes to first quarter scoring. The Mavs hover around the league worst in scoring throughout the remaining quarters of the game, but fortunately the Grizzlies improve their scoring output as the game goes on. If the Grizzlies can control the tempo and come out of the first quarter with a lead, it could result in a relatively easy Grizzlies win.

The Prediction

The Mavs are a much better team than they were the first time around, but the Grizzlies should still be able to handle them. Both teams are solid defensively, but the Grizzlies’ average offense will be what separates them in tonight’s game. The Mavs will keep it relatively close, but look for the Grizzlies to put them away in the late 3rd or early 4th to come away with the victory.

Memphis 110, Dallas 95

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