WHERE: American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas
WHEN: 7:30 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast/ 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley (Out, Left Heel), Marc Gasol (Out, rest), Tyreke Evans (Out, Right Rib), Andrew Harrison (Out, Right Wrist), Mario Chalmers (Out, Right Hamstring), Jarell Martin (Questionable, Right Knee)
DALLAS- Seth Curry (Out, Leg), Nerlens Noel (Out, Rest), Wesley Matthews (Questionable, Hip), Dorian Finney-Smith (Questionable, Knee)
MEMPHIS- Kobi Simmons, Ben McLemore, Dillon Brooks, Jarell Martin, JaMychal Green
DALLAS- Dennis Smith Jr., Yogi Ferrell, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki
The Grizzlies are back in action quickly after their disastrous game at home against the Jazz Friday night. They head down to Dallas to take on the Mavericks. It will be a quick turnaround for the team as they try and forget the debacle that took place the night before.
These two teams have faced each other three times prior to their final matchup of the season. The Mavericks have the lead in the season series so far 2-1. Both of these teams have gone even further down in the standings since those three games in October and November. It is a lose first mentality with both of these franchises.
The Grizzlies now have a 16-game losing streak at stake as they are showing the rest of the league how to tank without regard to NBA decency. Memphis now owns the worst record in the league. Plus, after a 78-point showing against the Jazz, the team is not going to get much better down the stretch. Dallas owns the sixth worst record in the league and needs to do some work if they want to increase their ping-pong ball odds. With more NBA adequate players, look for Dallas to have the talent advantage in this matchup in addition to the home court momentum.
These are the two things to note going into the game:
Appreciating Dennis Smith Jr.
At this point in the season, the Grizzlies are a hard watch. They just do not have the talent throughout a full 48 minutes to match against the other team. So, because of this, fans should turn their attention toward the other team’s highlight player. In Dallas’s case, it is Dennis Smith Jr.
Now, this may not be as rewarding as Dillon Brooks having a big night or JaMychal Green with a double-double. However, as NBA fans, we all need to appreciate the talent that happens around the league even if it is not with the Grizzlies. Dennis Smith Jr. is that talent for the Mavericks.
He has been one of the most electric rookies in this past draft class. Smith Jr. was highly touted as the biggest steal of the draft before Donovan Mitchell had his rise in discussion of that class. DSJ is averaging 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists this season. In his last game, he had an 18 point, 11 assist night. And these nights have usually culminated in a highlight reel dunk.
With either Kobi Simmons, Ben McLemore, or any other of the inexperienced Grizzlies guard defending him Saturday night, look for Dennis Smith Jr. to go off. If he gets in a groove early and feeds off the home crowd, it’ll be a long night for the Grizzlies.
Dillon Brooks Taking Over
The past three games have been the Dillon Brooks show. He has averaged 22.7 points in those games proving yet again to be a young bright spot for this Memphis Grizzlies franchise.
What really makes these offensive nights impressive is the defensive effort he puts in as well. He has to guard the best player on most teams because of the matchups around the team. If he can use the rest of the season as more of a learning experience in his rookie campaign, he could soon make the jump to another level.
In this game, he will have a tough matchup either against Wes Matthews or Harrison Barnes. Both of these players are pesky on the defensive end which will test Brooks’s latest scoring surge. He has become a staple to this team, and with the Grizzlies losing, Dillon Brooks has inserted himself as a go-to option for the team.
My prediction for the game is not a good one for the Grizzlies. The Mavericks have not played since Tuesday, and the Grizzlies are coming off a back to back with travel included. I am not really sure who scheduled this one but something is off. Maybe this will mean the Mavericks will have a lackadaisical start.
Also, the Grizzlies do not have much to play for. They are holding on to their 16 game losing streak which is a must with the Suns losing right there with them. The scenario is bleak for the Grizzlies. A home game for the Mavericks on rest will not work out well for Memphis.
Spread: DAL -8.5. However, with all of that said, I think this line is crazy. I think the Grizzlies will at least keep it close since the Mavericks are not a good team either. I would take the Grizzlies plus the points, but I still say the Grizzlies will lose.
Mavericks- 100, Grizzlies- 95