The Dallas Mavericks(14-10) have had 3 days off to take in their commanding victory over Milwaukee Saturday night, despite not having Dirk Nowitzki or Rick Carlisle in tow.
“I felt a lot better during the day Saturday, but it really hit me Friday night,” Nowitzki said. “Friday, I was struggling to keep fluids in, so Saturday I didn’t feel that hot. But I’m glad the boys pulled it out.”
Brandan Wright made his season debut and did so emphatically, putting up 19 points on 9-10 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds. The Mavericks will welcome back Nowitzki into the lineup and Coach Carlisle will be ready to orchestrate the action from the sideline tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.
THE GAME AT HAND:
The Memphis Grizzlies(10-14) will be playing their second game of a back to back, as they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 96-92 last night. The Mavericks took down the Grizzlies back in early November 111-99. Dirk Nowitzki put up 24 points in that one, and the Mavericks came right out of the gates early and built a huge lead. The Grizzlies continue to have issues in falling behind early, and on the 2nd night of a back to back, they will have to make sure they don’t do the same in Dallas.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Rebound the ball. The Mavericks should have a huge boost in the rebounding department now that Brandan Wright is back in action. The Grizzlies have been a very good rebounding team in past years, but are averaging only 41 rebound per game, good for 22nd in the NBA. They have always been a very physical team, so the Mavericks will have to make sure they get a body on everyone and clean up the glass.
Take care of business. The Mavericks have two home games left (Memphis, Toronto) and then they head out on the road for a couple tough games in Phoenix and Houston, before returning to Dallas to take on the San Antonio Spurs. Taking tonight’s game will be a good start.
MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT: Monta Ellis vs Tony Allen
This figures to be a matchup of offense vs defense, and could be crucial in deciding tonight’s winner. Nowitzki and Zach Randolph should provide plenty of excitement, but the result is going to hinder on how well Ellis can produce with Allen defending him. Allen has been one of the better defending guards in the NBA over the last few years and is averaging 2.1 steals per game this season. He’s also coming off of his best scoring night of the season last night when he put in 16 points.
“I felt a lot better already come Sunday, until I watched the Cowboys game. Then I got sick again.” – Dirk Nowitzki
“(We’ll) be sharp hopefully on Wednesday against a physical team that always gives us trouble on the boards so we gotta be ready,” – Dirk Nowitzki
“We are letting teams get up by shooting the basketball and getting loose balls. They are getting after us instead of us getting after them.” – Dave Joerger
WHEN AND WHERE: Game action starts at 7:30 p.m. CT and airs locally on Fox Sports Southwest.
Source – Earl K Sneed (Nowitzki and Joerger Quotes); (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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