Who: Memphis Grizzlies (2-6, 2-3 home) vs Dallas Mavericks (5-3, 3-0 road)
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN.
When: 7:00 PM CT
How to Watch/Listen: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Memphis Grizzlies: Grayson Allen (out, ankle soreness)
Dallas Mavericks: None
MEMPHIS- Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Jae Crowder, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jonas Valanciunas
DALLAS - Luka Doncic, Courtney Lee, Dorian Finney-Smith, Kristaps Porzingis, Dwight Powell
The Memphis Grizzlies return home after a blow out loss in Orlando Friday night to take on Luka Doncic and the division leading Dallas Mavericks. Memphis scored 63 of their 86 points in the second and third quarters against Orlando but an 8 point fourth quarter was much too short to complete the comeback.
The Dallas Mavericks currently sit atop the Southwest Division with a 5-3 record. It was expected that the Mavs would be an improved team this season with one of the best duo’s in the league in Luka Doncic and a healthy Kristaps Porzingis. This team was not expected by most to be a playoff threat right away, but Dallas seems to have playoff plans anyways.
The matchup of these two teams young stars is worth every second. Ja vs Luka will be worth the price of admission alone. Doncic has a triple double in three of his last four games and is forcefully entering his name into the MVP conversation early this season. Morant is firmly in the lead for NBA Rookie of the Year as he leads all rookies in scoring and assists.
Jaren Jackson Jr. vs Kristaps Porzingis is the other match up to watch, but that may not be close if Jaren gets into foul trouble trying to guard him early. This unicorn v unicorn battle is a tie up between two young 7 footers that can spread the floor and the defend the paint at an elite level. JJJ has struggled out of the gate in his sophomore campaign while KP has returned to form coming back from missing all of last season due to injury.
KEYS TO VICTORY
The Memphis Grizzlies currently rank 6th in pace while the Mavericks prefer to slow it down, ranking 22nd. Coach Jenkins will push for his young team to push the pace and control the game by playing at their speed. As a team, Memphis is shooting 29% from three on the season, so letting the Mavs slow this game to a half court game does not bode well for the Grizz. Memphis, led by Morant want to play in space and play fast to allow him room to make plays for himself and his teammates.
Beyond the Arc
The Dallas Mavericks average 13 made three pointers per game while the Grizzlies give up 12 made threes per game at a 34% clip. Dallas gives up 11 three pointers per game but Memphis only hits 8 threes a night. If the offensive averages play out, the Grizz are already in a 15 point hole. The three point line has always been an arch nemesis of the Grizzlies on both sides of the ball. It will be hard enough to contain Luka and KP, the Grizzlies will need to put the clamps on the shooters to have a chance.
The Memphis bench averages 49.3 points per contest while the Mavericks’ bench chips in 71.6 per night. That number is a little skewed as Courtney Lee will be playing just his third game of the season, but nonetheless both teams rely on their bench for over 40% of their nightly scoring. The bench play typically favors the home team and that will hopefully be the case tonight.