Mavericks-Grizzlies Preview

The Associated Press

The Memphis Grizzlies may have traded away their top scorer last month, but that hasn't slowed them down.

A visit by the Dallas Mavericks may keep them rolling.

In much different fashion, the Grizzlies go for their second eight-game winning streak of the season Wednesday night when they attempt to beat the Mavericks again at home.

Memphis (37-18) dealt Rudy Gay to Toronto on Jan. 30 in a three-team deal that delivered Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Ed Davis.

The Grizzlies dropped three of their first four following the move, but have since put that behind them by reeling off seven wins in a row.

Memphis won a season-high eight straight games from Nov. 2-17, averaging 102.3 points. The current run has been engineered with tremendous defensive play, limiting opponents to an average of 87.0 points - 78.7 over the past three games.

That success was evident Sunday, when the Grizzlies held Brooklyn to 37.7 percent shooting in a 76-72 road win.

"The key was our defense," coach Lionel Hollins said. "I said to people before the game that the way Brooklyn plays and we play, it could be 76-70 and it was pretty close."

The Grizzlies have stifled the Mavericks (25-31) while winning four consecutive home matchups, allowing 81.5 points per game and 41.1 percent from the floor - 26.0 from beyond the arc.

They kept that streak going with a 92-82 victory Dec. 21, but fell 104-83 at Dallas on Jan. 12.

Zach Randolph managed just six points and four boards in 19 minutes of last month's loss after getting 17 and 13, respectively, at home in December.

The forward is averaging 15.6 points and 12.1 rebounds during the winning streak.

While the Grizzlies are fourth in the Western Conference, the Mavs are 11th and five games behind Houston for the eighth and final playoff position, putting their string of 12 straight years in the postseason in jeopardy.

Their latest performance didn't help, falling 95-90 to Milwaukee while Dirk Nowitzki put up 21 points and pulled down 20 rebounds. It was the star forward's first 20-20 performance since April 3, 2003.

Dallas has split its last six games, and each of the three defeats have come by five or fewer points.

"It's not looking good for sure," Nowitzki said. "This league is crazy and I've seen a lot happen. But it's definitely getting tight. If we want to make a push, we have to find a way to win those close games."

Nowitzki is doing his part, averaging 25.3 points and 13.3 rebounds while making 55.8 percent from the field over the past three games.

He had 17 points against Memphis last month after sitting out in December while recovering from right knee surgery. However, he has only 8.3 points and 5.7 boards per game over his three previous visits to Memphis.

O.J. Mayo went 3 for 11 from the floor while finishing with 10 points at Memphis in December, when he made his return after leaving the Grizzlies via free agency.

The guard, the third overall pick in the 2008 draft by Minnesota, has seen his production and playing time drop significantly over four seasons.

He's averaging 17.5 points with Dallas, his highest output since finishing with the same amount in 2009-10.

What to Read Next