Memphis defeated Dallas 112-92 on Nov. 26, the team’s second consecutive win following back-to-back losses. The Grizzlies then turned up their defense and went on to win their next four, not allowing more than 73 points during that span.
Since starting the streak with an 86-81 win over Houston on Nov. 25, Memphis has outscored opponents by an average of 17.3 points and averaged 93.3 per game.
Memphis is among the NBA’s top defensive teams, holding opponents to a league-best 84.8 points per game.
“That’s our bread and butter,” Jackson said. “When I first got here in training camp, I was like ‘Man, we’re working on a lot of defense.’ … I see why we’re working on defense because coach (Mike Fratello) wanted us to be one of the best teams in the league and we’re there.”
The Grizzlies rank only 24th in the league with 91.2 points per game, but are shooting a solid 44.8 percent from the field.
“It starts with defense,” said Fratello, whose team has the second-longest current win streak behind Phoenix, winner of eight in a row. “That gets us going and we try to go from there.”
The Mavericks are coming off Tuesday’s 84-75 road win over Indiana, as Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points to help Dallas to its third consecutive victory.
Dallas, perennially among the league’s top offensive teams, held the Pacers to season lows in points and field-goal shooting (34.3 percent). Both totals were season bests for the Mavs.
“We never get enough credit for our defense,” Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. “We’ve got to do it more consistently.”
Dallas has won seven of its last 10 meetings with the Grizzlies, including two straight at Memphis.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 8): Mavericks - 2nd place (tied), 2 GB, Southwest Division. Grizzlies - 2nd place (tied), 2 GB, Southwest Division.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Mavericks - F Adrian Griffin, F Nowitzki, C Erick Dampier, G Marquis Daniels, G Devin Harris. Grizzlies - F Shane Battier, F Gasol, C Lorenzen Wright, G Eddie Jones, G Damon Stoudamire.
TEAM LEADERS: Mavericks - Nowitzki, 25.6 ppg and 8.9 rpg; Terry, 3.7 apg. Grizzlies - Gasol, 19.2 ppg and 9.2 rpg; Stoudamire, 4.8 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Grizzlies, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 26, 2005; Grizzlies, 112-92. At Dallas, Gasol had 36 points and 15 rebounds, and Stoudamire added 22 points and eight assists as the Grizzlies dealt the Mavs their worst loss of the season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mavericks - 7-3 on the road; Grizzlies - 6-2 at home.