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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks Game Preview

Tonight’s matchup could have major convey implications

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (31-47, 11-28 away) vs. Dallas Mavericks (31-47, 23-16 home)

WHERE: American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX

WHEN: 7:30 PM CT

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


MEMPHIS: Joakim Noah (Questionable, knee), Mike Conley (Doubtful, ankle), Kyle Anderson (Out, shoulder), Avery Bradley (Out, shin), Dillon Brooks (Out, toe), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, thigh), C.J. Miles (Out, foot), Jonas Valanciunas (Out, ankle)

DALLAS: Jalen Brunson (Questionable, load management), Luka Doncic (Questionable, thigh), Dwight Powell (Questionable, load management), Dorian Finney-Smith (Questionable, mouth), Kristaps Porzingis (Out, knee), Tim Hardaway Jr. (Out, leg), J.J. Barea (Out, achilles)


MEMPHIS: Delon Wright, Tyler Dorsey, Justin Holiday, Bruno Caboclo, Ivan Rabb

DALLAS: Jalen Brunson, Luka Doncic, Justin Jackson, Dwight Powell, Dirk Nowitzki

The Grizzlies wrap up their road trip with a game against Dallas that will have huge convey/tank implications. The Grizzlies and Mavs are both tied at #6 in the Tankathon standings, just a half game from New Orleans and Washington who are tied for 8th. From the Mavs perspective, they are probably too far out to catch the ATL Hawks (2.5 games) in the standings but will likely want to fend off the Pelicans and Wizards in their hopes of keeping their top 5 protected pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

With the Grizzlies actively trying to win, and the Mavs doing their best to lose, you would think tonight would be an easy win for the Grizzlies. Not so fast, as the Mavs have a handful of solid young players and one savvy vet keeping the Mavs competitive as the season winds down.

Here’s what the Grizzlies need to do in order to win tonight.

Make Doncic facilitate

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Luka Doncic has been the clear Rookie of the Year since about the first week of the NBA season (back off Trae Young stans) averaging 21.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game for the Mavs. The Slovenian rookie has a knack for being able to take games over and almost single-handedly win games for the Mavs. Sometimes, his selflessness ends up hurting the team. Case in point on Wednesday night against the Timberwolves. Doncic crossed up Josh Okogie and had a wide open attempt for the win or tie but instead opted to pass the ball to the wing for Jalen Brunson to attempt an even more wide open shot at the buzzer.

Jalen Brunson is a solid player, as are some of the other Mavs young guys, but you have to think the Grizzlies would much rather lose if one of them beats them instead of Doncic dropping a ton of points in a Mavs win. Simply, I don’t trust the rest of the Mavs roster to consistently finish off some of Doncic’s passes throughout the game. Let the other guys beat you, but not Luka.

Chandler Parsons Revenge Game

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks
Nov 18, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons (25) motions to the Dallas Mavericks bench after making a three point basket during the second half at the American Airlines Center. The Grizzlies defeat the Mavericks 80-64. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Parsons has played the best basketball of his Grizzlies career since about mid-March. He has scored in double figures in 6 of the last 9 games and has played in 20+ minutes in 8 of the 9 matchups (he only played 7 in Phoenix due to illness). It may have taken nearly 3 full years but Parsons is finally looking like a competent NBA player for the first time since signing with the Grizzlies after the Mavs let him go in the Summer of 2016. Despite the ongoing knee issues, Parson’s has still managed to average 7.8 points against the Mavs as a member of the Grizzlies. 7.8 isn’t a lot, but it’s more than what the norm has been so bear with me. Now that Parson’s has finally gotten into a groove, ironically playing with half of the Memphis Hustle, it’s time for him to go off on his former team.

The Grizzlies will need Parsons to continue his scoring streak if they want to beat the Mavs, especially if Mike Conley misses more time.

The Prediction

The Mavericks quietly have a ton of solid young-ish prospects alongside Luka Doncic. Jalen Brunson, Dwight Powell, Justin Jackson and Maxi Kleber have shown flashes of being solid NBA players down the road. The Grizzlies have also seen flashes from some of their own young guys as well. The game could come down to which teams young guys play better, and considering young guys play better at home the edge goes to the Mavs. If Conley and Joakim Noah are able to play, however, I think they provide the Grizzlies with just enough of a spark to push them past the Mavs. With this game being big in achieving the goal for conveying, I think at least one plays and pushes the Grizz to the victory.

With both teams having lengthy injury reports, who plays and doesn’t play will play a huge role in the outcome.

Grizzlies 105 Mavericks 101

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