The Mavericks (39-9), who have won four straight games overall including a 95-94 win over the Grizzlies on Jan. 31, have won 25 of their last 27 games and remain the only team in the NBA with fewer than 10 losses.
Dallas, which has winning streaks of 13 and eight games during the current stretch, plays teams with losing records in three of its next four games.
The Mavericks have won 15 in a row at American Airlines Arena, one short of the team record set from Jan. 3-March 3 last season. Dallas opened the season 0-2 at home but has lost just once there since, and its 22-3 home record is tops in the league.
Dallas also can extend its domination of Memphis. The Mavericks have won 10 straight meetings with the Grizzlies - three of them this season - including a four-game sweep in the first round of last season’s playoffs. Dallas is 43-7 all-time, including postseason, against the Grizzlies franchise.
Despite the disparity between the league’s best and worst teams, the Grizzlies (12-37) nearly beat the Mavericks last week, hanging around until Dallas’ lone All-Star Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Josh Howard - who was snubbed for the Western Conference All-Star team - didn’t play in that contest, but returned to action in the Mavericks’ 94-93 victory over Minnesota on Saturday in the opener of a three-game homestand. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds after missing two games for the birth of his first child.
Dallas hosts Houston on Friday, then begins a three-game road trip leading up to the All-Star break. The Mavericks are trying to enter the break with the league’s best record for the second straight season.
“We just have to get back practicing and get some work in,” Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. “We have Josh back with us, (so we can) try and get some sort of a rhythm back. We play Wednesday and Friday and then play every other day going into the break and that will be good for us.”
The Mavericks are 9-2 against Southwest Division opponents, but the Grizzlies - who trail Dallas by 27 1/2 games - have yet to beat a division rival this season, going 0-11 against the Mavericks, San Antonio, Houston and New Orleans.
Memphis added to that drought by losing 98-90 to the Rockets at home on Tuesday night. Pau Gasol had 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half before trimming the deficit to three in the fourth quarter.
“We were hanging in there,” Gasol said, “even with the poor shooting. That’s where we want to be. We weren’t running as much, but as long as we’re in the game and have a chance to win, I’m fine with it.”
Mike Miller was just 5-for-17 from the field and finished with 12 points for Memphis, which lost three straight games to complete a 1-4 homestand.
Away from home, the Grizzlies have lost 10 in a row and their 3-20 road record is the league’s worst.