After an electrifying win over the rival Houston Rockets at home Wednesday night pushed their winning streak to five games, the Dallas Mavericks (40-38) will look to continue their recent hot streak Friday night when the Memphis Grizzlies (42-36) roll through the American Airlines Center.
The Mavs’ win-streak paired with an incredibly rough stretch for the Grizzlies has this game suddenly having some serious Western Conference standings implications. Despite being rattled by injuries all season, Memphis seemed to be all set in the fifth seed as recently as a couple of weeks ago. Their recent six game losing streak, halted Tuesday night with a home-win over the disappointing Chicago Bulls, has them now within striking distance of the pack of the Mavs, Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz that have been battling for the back half of the West playoff picture the last month or so.
Heading into Friday’s matchup, the Dallas will be just two games back of Memphis in the standings. At game-time tomorrow night, Memphis will still be in the fifth seed and Dallas the seventh seed. With a win, the Mavs could pull within one game of the Grizzlies and Memphis would fall a half game behind Portland and slide to sixth. It definitely will be an eventful final week of the regular season.
Dallas has won two of the first three meetings with Memphis this season. However, the two sides haven’t been since the Grizzlies roster has been absolutely tattered by injuries. Starters Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are out for the season and the roster has been a constantly changing cast of characters throughout the season in order to have enough active players on the bench every night.
During their five game winning streak, the Mavs have held each of their opponents under 90 points. That could continue Friday as the Mavs/Grizzlies represent two of the less lethal offenses in the Western Conference.
Coach Rick Carlisle said Friday’s game “could be in the 50s.”
It likely won’t be that rough, but Dallas’ poor shooting outside of J.J. Barea’s torrent recent play has grounded their offense but helped them on the defensive side. They’re playing playoff basketball in recent weeks, both in style and with their sense of urgency. The final four games of the season should be no different.
Key Matchup: Memphis’ perimeter defense against the Mavs
With the likes of Tony Allen and Matt Barnes on the roster, the Grizzlies have a lot of tough one on one defenders to throw around. Without Chandler Parsons or Deron Williams, the Dallas seems to not really have a player besides Dirk Nowitzki who can create a shot for himself. J.J. Barea has definitely had something to say about that recently. Will Barea be able to continue his recent streak of dominance? Or will Memphis’ perimeter D be able to keep the streakin’ Puerto Rican in check?
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 and the game will be on TXA 21 and can be heard on 103.3 KESN.
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