Setting the Table: Memphis Grizzlies (Game 57)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 27, 2013 under Previews | Read the First Comment

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The hits just keep on coming for the Dallas Mavericks (25-31) as they take on the Memphis Grizzlies (37-18) just 20 or so hours after facing the Milwaukee Bucks. The Grizzlies have had two days off to prepare for their game against the Mavericks. It will be the second night of a back-to-back for the Mavericks, a situation that hasn’t been too incredibly kind for them this year. With the loss to the Bucks, the Mavericks are 2-10 in the first half of a back-to-back and 4-7 in the second half of a back-to-back this season. The Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs in 2012-13, with only one stretch of four games in five nights. In total, 10 back-to-backs are on the road, three begin at home and conclude on the road and three are road-to-home. Dallas played 22 back-to-backs in 2011-12, going 7-15 in the first half and 13-9 in the second half of those back-to-backs.

They’re going up against a Memphis squad that has their act together. The Grizzlies have won eight of the last 10 games, including the last seven‐in‐a‐row, since acquiring Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Ed Davis in a three‐team trade that sent Rudy Gay from Memphis to Toronto and Jose Calderon from Toronto to Detroit on Jan. 30. Memphis’ current seven‐game winning streak is the team’s longest since a franchise‐record tying eight‐game winning streak earlier this season (Nov. 2 through the 17). It is the longest active winning streak in the Western Conference and the second‐longest active streak in the NBA (Miami).

The road can be a lonely place, and the Mavericks are now on the road for seven of their next eight games. With the playoffs looking bleak, this very well could be the final march for the Mavericks.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Grizzlies.

Series Notes:

The home team has won each of the last five meetings between the Mavericks and the Grizzlies (Memphis has taken three of the last five overall matchups). The Mavericks are 52-16 all-time against the Grizzlies in the regular season, but Memphis has won nine of the last 15 meetings between the two clubs.

The Grizzlies took the first meeting between the two teams this season, 92-82, at Memphis on Dec. 21. The Grizzlies have now won four straight and seven of the last nine matchups in Memphis. The Mavericks evened the season series with a 104-83 win at Dallas on Jan. 12.

Shawn Marion is averaging 17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 31.5 minutes in two starts against the Grizzlies in 2012-13. Marion is shooting 62.5 percent (15-of-24) from the field against Memphis this season. Vince Carter is averaging 11.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 26.0 minutes in two games against Memphis this season. Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery) was unavailable for the Mavericks for the game at Memphis in December. Nowitzki had 17 points, six rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes against the
Grizzlies in the January matchup. Elton Brand (right groin strain) also missed the game at Memphis in December, but had 10 points and nine boards against the Grizzlies during the January encounter.

It’s a Small World:

O.J. Mayo played his first four NBA seasons with the Grizzlies from 2008-12. Mayo appeared in 301 of a possible 312 games with Memphis and averaged 15.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 32.8 minutes. Mayo was named NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2009 and runner-up to Derrick Rose for the 2008-09 NBA Rookie of the Year Award after averaging 18.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 38.0 minutes in 82 games (82 starts).

Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur is from Dallas and attended South Oak Cliff High School. Dominique Jones was originally drafted by Memphis with the 25th overall pick in the 2010 Draft, but was traded to Dallas for cash considerations.

Terry Davis, the father of Grizzlies forward Ed Davis, played five seasons for the Mavericks from 1991-96 and averaged 8.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in 232 games (147 starts) with Dallas. Brandan Wright grew up in Nashville, Tenn., and attended Brentwood Academy. Wright earned Tennessee’s Division II Mr. Basketball title in 2004, 2005 and 2006, becoming the
first three-time recipient at any level of Tennessee basketball. Wright was a four-time MVP of the Tennessee Division II private school state championship tournament. He led Brentwood Academy to four consecutive state titles, a first in Tennessee high school basketball history.

Three Keys:

1. Protect the basketball. Dallas committed 20 turnovers (for 19 points), while Milwaukee recorded only 12 giveaways (for 11 points). The issue with ball security seems to be the truest barometer for the team’s success. Dallas is 17-8 when they commit 12 or fewer turnovers and 3-13 when they have 16 turnovers or more. Memphis ranks third in the league in turnovers forced at 16.0 per game. It’s going to be a statistic to watch, for sure.

2. Reunite and rebuild. O.J. Mayo will make his second trip to Memphis as a visitor. He had 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting with five turnovers in the first visit back in December. Simply put, Mayo is a rut. In his last five games, Mayo is scoring 11.8 points per game on 37.5 percent shooting and shooting 4-of-23 from 3-point range. He’s averaging 17.5 points with Dallas, his highest output since finishing with the same amount in 2009-10. Familiar faces and a familiar venue might get him get back on track.

3. Ride through highway 41. Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 25.3 points and 13.3 rebounds while making 55.8 percent from the field since the All-Star break. The Mavericks need to rely on Dirk, but it’s a fine line they have to walk. Dirk has been playing out of this world as of late but they need to avoid over-working him and burning him out. That being said, they’re at the point where Dirk needs to be the focal point of the offense, not the decoy.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.

  • Matt Hulme

    This is it. One game elimination style going forward, at least against Western Conference contenders. That’s how the Mavs have to (and better) look at tonight’s matchup.

    There could be a lot of Game 7s between now and April, but we have to win them to earn the next one. Let’s just hope, that if they do falter tonight, they go out on the legs, arms, contested rim-rattlers, and fade-away jumpers of the Big German, because then they can at least say they went out and empty their chambers and gave it everything they’ve got.

    Show me that, and if nothing else, I’ll be satisfied to move on.