Dallas (6-2) has not lost to Memphis (2-6) since a 112-92 defeat on Nov. 26, 2005. The streak also includes a first-round sweep in the 2006 Western Conference playoffs.
Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki had a double-double in each matchup last season, averaging 28.5 points and 11.0 rebounds as Dallas swept the four-game season series from Memphis. Grizzlies power forward Pau Gasol missed the first two meetings with a broken foot, and averaged 21.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in the other two.
But Nowitzki is off to a slow start, as the reigning league MVP is third on the team with 19.6 points per game. That hasn’t stopped the Mavericks from getting off to a 4-0 start at home.
Dallas posted its most impressive victory of the season, 105-92 over San Antonio on Thursday. The Mavericks built a 15-point lead after one quarter and held off a series of runs by the defending NBA champions.
“We were ready to come out and play,” said Mavs guard Josh Howard, who scored a team-high 23 points. “We played really great individual defense and team defense.”
“I did my best to keep him in front of me,” Harris told the Mavs’ official Web site. “It’s not an easy job.”
Second-year guard Maurice Ager made his second career start and first of the season, finishing with five points, three assists and two rebounds in 21 minutes. Coach Avery Johnson wants to see if Ager can fill the role left behind by the injured Eddie Jones.
“It felt great,” Ager said. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for the opportunity to do this.”
The Grizzlies have lost four of five overall, and three straight on the road. They wasted eight 3-pointers and 28 points off the bench from Juan Carlos Navarro in a 120-118 overtime loss to New Orleans on Friday.
Navarro, a Spaniard in his first season in the NBA, had seen sporadic playing time in his first seven games and scored a total of 30 points. He took advantage of a season-high 33 minutes Friday to make 10-of-16 shots, while missing only one 3-point attempt.
“I’m happy for my game, for my feeling, but if we lose, it doesn’t matter,” Navarro said. “The rim was very big for me. Some days it’s very big; some days it’s small.”
Memphis also got 20 points and a 3-pointer that forced overtime from Rudy Gay, but turned in another poor defensive effort. The Grizzlies entered the game ranked second-worst in the league in field-goal percent defense at 48.7 percent and allowed the Hornets to make half of their shots.