It must be that Mavs Fan For Life thing in me because I’m looking forward to tonight’s game just as eagerly as I do every game even after getting spanked once again. O.J. Mayo makes his first return back to Memphis when the Dallas Mavericks hit the road for a gruesome three-game stretch.
The Mavs play the Grizzlies tonight before also playing games at San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Grizzlies’ management decided not to exercise Mayo’s $7M option and let their former No. 3 overall pick in 2008 walk in free agency where he signed with Dallas.
Mayo entered the NBA as a highly touted prospect after one season at USC. He didn’t disappoint in his rookie season and followed it up with a very impressive sophomore campaign. Then the ride became bumpy. Mayo gets demoted to a bench role. Teammate at the time Tony Allen and Mayo get into a fight on the team plane. O.J. served a 10-game ban for an illegal substance.
Mark Cuban provided Mayo with the opportunity to essentially sign a one-year deal and play this out as a contract season. The Mavs have received the bargain of the summer in Mayo as he’s once again blossomed in a starting role. With Dirk Nowitzki out it’s also allowed him to settle in early as the go-to guy on this Mavs roster.
Eventually Dirk plans to return to the court and it will benefit both players to feed off each other. Mayo has never played alongside a player of Dirk’s caliber and it’s been awhile since Dirk played with an explosive shooting guard.
Temper the thoughts of Dirk playing at least another week. His target date has been rumored at the home game against the Denver Nuggets on December 28th. Upon his return, Dirk is expected to be eased back in a reserve role.
On the plate tonight will be the just the second division game. The Grizzlies surrender a league-best 89.5 points to opponents. The catalyst would be Tony Allen, the guy who replaced Mayo in the Grizzlies starting group three years ago.
“Ever since I got here, that’s been our motto, holding it down on the defensive end…” said Allen. “Whenever we do that, I think we are more effective.”
Allen will look to lock down his former comrade tonight and Mayo will out to show why the Grizzlies shouldn’t have given up on him. Mayo is ready and eager.
“It’s going to be fun, I think so. …. It’s going to be fun.”
Mayo is having the best season of his pro career averaging 20.2 points, 4 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He’s doing this shooting 48% from the field, 50% from three and 86% at the line. Juice looks to continue the ride tonight.
The Mavs and Grizzlies tip at 7:00 p.m. CT and action airs on FSSW and SPSO.
Start this road trip off with a win Mavs!
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