Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies
Time: 7 PM CT (NBA League Pass)
Spread: MEM -5.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Dallas Mavericks have lost its past three games and will attempt to prevent that skid from reaching four games tonight as it travels to face the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis has been strong at home this season where it is 19-7 and the Grizzlies will be 5.5 point favorites in the game which will air at 7 Central on NBA League Pass.
Last night the Mavericks fell 116-90 to the San Antonio Spurs on the road. The Spurs gave Dallas fits, holding it to the lowest first half total (26) in team history. The Mavs would come out to play inspired ball in the second half, but perhaps it was just to save face because it trailed by 36 points at the half.
The Spurs were without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, but it dug deep into its bench and the Spurs reserves totaled 58 of the team’s 116 points. Dallas was led by Charlie Villanueva and Justin Anderson, who each scored 13 points in a blowout sans any real meaning.
Dirk Nowitzki saw just 24 minutes in the game and no starter played more than 27 (Deron Williams). The Mavs shot 45.2 percent from the field but allowed the Spurs to knock down 51 percent including 12 of 22 from three-point range.
Dirk Nowitzki continues to shine as Dallas’ leading scorer, even if he has fallen off a good bit. Dirk is averaging 17.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.37 blocks/steals per game. The Mavericks are getting good contributions from Deron Williams, tragically fallen off though his career is in its own right. Williams has averaged 13.9 points per game and 5.3 assists per game (yet is still posting a sub-par 14.4 PER as a result of his 41.4 percent field goal percentage on 12 attempts per game). He is battling a knee injury, too, but is expected to play in this game.
Perhaps the most disappointing Maverick has been Chandler Parsons. He started the year with injuries, but has hardly come around. Parsons is averaging just 12.3 points and he is seeing just 27.8 minutes per game.
The Mavs are getting more out of journeyman Zaza Pachulia, who sees more minutes (29.6) and averages a double-double with 10.3 points and 11 rebounds per game. For all that Pachulia is or is not, he hustles and makes the most of his talents and the Mavericks have been better than expected with no real premier players at the 5-spot. Enigmatic head case JaVale McGee has been a non-factor this season and the Mavs have no other centers.
For a team getting by on two past-their-prime point guards in Williams and Raymond Felton, the Mavericks remain in the thick of the playoff chase and cannot be written off as a team quite yet. Both still show sparks of the strong play they once displayed often, and Dallas is a team with enough experience to play through adversities like the three-game skid the team is mired in right now.
The Grizzlies are heading in a different direction than the Mavs, and now have won five straight games and nine of its past 10. The most recent win was a 91-85 victory at Madison Square Garden over the New York Knicks. Jeff Green came through late in the game and sealed it up with two free throws with 6.2 seconds to go.
The Grizzlies sixth man hit 5 of 11 from the field to finish with a team-high 16 points, five rebounds and two assists. The starting lineup combined to produce just 38 points for the Grizzlies in a rather low scoring affair. Memphis led by 10 at the half and simply maintained that lead while the Knicks tried to rally late, outscoring the Grizzlies 23-22 in the game’s final period.
At home though, the Grizzlies have been especially tough. The Grizzlies are still a formidable team for Western Conference contenders, even if Memphis cannot really be considered a contender in its own right.
Marc Gasol is leading the team in scoring at 16.6 points per game, while also grabbing 7.1 rebounds, dishing 3.8 assists and averaging 2.38 blocks/steals per game. Where it gets dicey is that the one-time Defensive Player of the Year is a free agent this season, and the Grizzlies may be wise to let him walk and start over.
The team has grunted in the postseason for the last decade without breaking through and a wind-up towards true contention might be something the fan base could endure. The Grit N Grind of the Grizzlies is one of the more inspiring forces in basketball—but with Zach Randolph trailing off more into mediocrity and Jeff Green showing enough promise, the Grizzlies could re-load around Green and Mike Conley and still field a competitive team (not unlike the Portland Trail Blazers have with Damian Lillard).
It is just a thought, because while the Grizzlies may be favored tonight it would not be against any of the top-three teams in the Conference.