GAME 64 PREVIEW
Grizzlies (31-31) at Mavericks (38-25)
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Place: American Airlines Center, Dallas
Radio: ESPN, 103.3 FM, Univision, 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavs: While they have been lodged in the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference for quite a while, they are only 2 games behind Houston and Utah who are 4-5 in the West. Clearly, there is plenty to play for right now . . . After major problems at AAC much of the season, the Mavericks actually have won three in a row on the home floor. Their longest home winning streak of the season has been four in a row from Nov. 16-22 . . . They are 1-1 against the Grizzlies this season, having won in Memphis but lost a 121-107 decision on Feb. 5 at AAC. In that game, the Grizzlies outscored the Mavericks 41-22 in the third quarter to take control of the game. “They’ve been a great third-quarter team all year,” coach Rick Carlisle said of the Grizzlies. The Mavericks will make one more trip to Memphis on April 3 . . . They hope to have Luka Doncic, who missed Thursday’s practice because he was under the weather. They also believe Dorian Finney-Smith, who suffered a hip flexor on Wednesday against New Orleans. He will be a game-time decision, according to Carlisle . . . Doncic is coming off his 14th triple double of the season after rolling up 30 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists against the Pelicans . . . In the last 10 games, Tim Hardaway Jr. has averaged 21.9 points and shot 42.7 percent from 3-point range.
About the Grizzlies: After losing five in a row and suffering a couple of key injuries, they have rebounded to win three in a row – beating the Lakers at home and then winning their first two games on this road trip at Atlanta and Brooklyn . . . On Wednesday, they crushed the Nets 118-79, holding Brooklyn to 33.3 percent shooting . . . With the three wins, they have re-established a stronghold on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are 3½ games ahead of ninth-place Portland . . . They will be without Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee sprain) and heralded rookie Brandon Clarke (right quad) . . . Rookie of the year candidate Ja Morant has done a lot of things well, averaging 17.6 points, 7 assists and shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from 3-point land . . . Interesting aspect of the Grizzlies is that they do not rely as heavily on the 3-point shot as most teams. However, they are second in the NBA in two-point baskets made per game (32.0) and shoot better than 53 percent inside the arc . . . They are a strong rebounding team with Jonas Valanciunas and Gorgui Dieng giving them two lively bodies that do their damage mostly in the paint.