You would have to think the Dallas Mavericks (40-40) will be lighter and faster as they take on the Memphis Grizzlies (54-26). With the victory against the New Orleans Hornets, the Mavericks were finally able to get back to .500, the first time they were there since they were 11-11 on Dec. 12. Dallas ended their road season with a record of 17-24 and now look to ensure they don’t finish the season with a losing record with two final home games. Winning seven of their last nine games, Memphis is still playing for playoff positioning as they still have a chance to have homecourt advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Grizzlies.
The home team has won each of the last six meetings between the Mavericks and the Grizzlies (Memphis has taken four of the last six overall matchups). The Mavericks are 52-17 all-time against the Grizzlies in the regular season, but Memphis has won 10 of the last 16 meetings between the two clubs. The Mavericks have taken 20 of the last 23 meetings in Dallas, and are 28-6 all-time at home against the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies lead the 2012-13 season series, 2-1.
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. 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.
Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince and Mike James were both members of the Detroit Pistons’ 2004 NBA championship team.
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.
Things to Play For:
1. Back-to-back superiority, for once. Dallas has yet to sweep a back-to-back this season. With the win in New Orleans, they got only their third win of the year on the first night of a back-to-back. It was their first win of the year on the first night of a road-home set of a back-to-back. Dallas might as well let it all hang out and let the chips fall where they may.
2. A milestone. Dirk was able to become the 17th player in NBA history to reach the 25,000-point mark. Nowitzki also became one of only nine players in NBA history with at least 25,000 points and 9,000 rebounds (joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett). Vince Carter currently ranks 28th all-time in scoring with 22,192 career points. He needs four points to pass Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 27th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Carter became the 28th player in NBA history to eclipse the 22,000-point mark at Atlanta on Mar. 18. It’s been an incredible year for Vince Carter.
3. According to TV play-by-play voice of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Followill, with one win in the last two games, Dallas would be 13th team in NBA history to be 10 games below .500 in a season and finish at .500 or better. The most recent team to achieve that feat was 2010-11 Philadelphia 76ers. The last Western Conference team was 1980-81 Portland Trail Blazers. This is a prideful bunch. Things haven’t gone the way they wanted to as they miss the playoffs, but they want to show they’re not throwing in the towel.
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.