WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast/ 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Marc Gasol (Questionable, Foot), Andrew Harrison (Ankle, Questionable), JaMychal Green (Questionable, Shoulder), Chandler Parsons (Out, Knee)
DALLAS- Salah Mejri (Out, Knee)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Vince Carter, James Ennis, Brandan Wright
DALLAS- Seth Curry, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, Nerlens Noel
The Grizzlies get right back to action tonight against Dallas Mavericks. They are coming off a crucial win at home Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers. The team came back home looked calm, cool, and collected after having a brutal four-game road trip.
Memphis is going up against a streaky Dallas team who just can’t find enough consistency for a late playoff push. The narrative will once again be the same: The Grizzlies must win these games against the sub .500 opponents. As we all know, as of late this team has had mental lapses against sub-par competition causing them to lose winnable games. Tonight will be a great chance to change all that.
The Mavericks have really faded down the stretch. The team looks to be in the running for another miracle playoff berth with the coaching mastermind Rick Carlisle, but they have faltered recently. Dallas has lost 7 of their last 10 and lost three in a row. On Monday night, the Mavericks had a historic collapse giving up a 14-0 run, 12 of those from Russell Westbrook, to lose the game. That game may have put the nail in the coffin for the Mavericks season, so it is imperative the Grizzlies take this one tonight.
Here are two things to note going into tonight’s game:
Mike Conley’s Impact
Mike Conley has been on a tear over the last month in both performances and in minutes. In the month of March, he has averaged 23.4 points a game, shooting 47.3% from the field and 37.9 from three. He has been everything for this Grizzlies team, and it will again have to continue tonight as the Grizzlies most likely (and smartly) will rest Gasol for another game.
This season he is averaging 6.2 points higher than his career numbers of points per game. He has been on another level with production and team leadership. With Gasol having his issues this past month, Conley has been there to steer the ship to hold on to this playoff berth.
However, with this success, one stat has been inflated in March that needs to come down in the games before the playoffs. That is his minutes per game. In the month of March, Conley is averaging 36.1 minutes a game. In Monday’s game against the Kings he played 40 minutes, and against the Pacers, he played 38. The biggest issue with the last game is that the Grizzlies were up 20 throughout most of that fourth quarter. Coach Fizdale must reduce Conley’s minutes to give him a little rest going into the playoffs. If you want to read a deeper dive into this, be on the lookout this weekend for a piece on Conley’s overuse.
Who are the Dallas Mavericks?
This year, Dallas has been an interesting team to follow. Coach Rick Carlisle has been incredible over the years turning a nothing roster into a playoff team. The Mavericks have a combination of some young unexpected talent combined with some overpaid players that haven’t some to form. They have their historic stud in Dirk Nowitzki, but they also have their overpaid reach in Harrison Barnes. This is a team stuck between the guys that can contribute and make a playoff push with players that have never had real NBA experience.
The Dallas Mavericks this year can not decide what team they want to be for the future. This has resulted in a disappointing season without the talent to support a solid run for a title. However, this team can come out and win games. Rookie Yogi Ferrell has been a positive young star on this team coming out of the D League. In the last match-up, Dallas won at home with Yogi contributing 17 points.
Without an explosion from an unexpected player, the Grizzlies should still be able to contain this curious team. As we saw in the 104-100 Mavericks win the last contest, the Grizz can be upset. However, that was in Dallas which started the team out on a winless Texas road trip. At home, the team has a different completely mindset that will end up in the Grizzlies favor.
My prediction is that the Grizzlies will win this one, but not after a little worry. The Mavericks always play the Grizzlies tough and I believe it will happen again tonight. Memphis is a little banged up without much depth, so we will see a lot of the rooks coming on. However, in saying it will be close, I think Conley is playing at a career level and is hot from everywhere. He will take this game over and the Grizz will take home the W.
Spread: Grizzlies -4.5 Take the Grizzlies on this one. Dallas doesn’t have much to play for so they will lose focus down the stretch.
Memphis- 101, Dallas 94