DALLAS MAVERICKS (22-19) at MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (30-14)
Time: 9 p.m. (note late start time)
Place: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.
TV: Bally Sports Southwest, ESPN.
Radio: The Eagle 97.1 FM; Univision Zona MX 99.1 FM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: Their six-game winning streak came to an end Wednesday at New York when the Knicks rolled to a 108-85 victory . . . In that game, Luka Dončić had one of his most forgettable games of the season, making just 8-of-23 shots (1-of-9 from 3-point range) and while he did have a double-double (21 points, 11 rebounds) he had only five assists against six turnovers. Even with that clunker, Dončić is averaging 20.8 points, 10.4 assists and 9.8 rebounds in the five games he’s played since returning from COVID-19 protocols . . . The Mavericks actually had been shooting pretty well from 3-point range recently, hitting 35.9 percent or better in seven of eight games before throwing out a dud on Wednesday (8-or-37, 21.6 percent) against the Knicks . . . Though he has served 10 days in health and safety protocols, the Mavericks once again will be without Kristaps Porzingis. Jason kidd also remains in the COVID-19 safety measures . . . Jalen Brunson has continued his marvelous season lately. He has 22 consecutive games of double-figure scoring and his season averages are up to 16 points and 5.6 assists per game, both career bests . . . While the Grizzlies like to push the tempo, the Mavericks are one of the slowest-paced teams in the league, averaging just 95.7 possessions per 48 minutes, 29th in the league . . . After tonight, the Mavericks return home where they will play 12 of their next 15 at American Airlines Center, including the next five in a row, starting with Orlando Saturday night.
About the Grizzlies: They are the hottest team in the NBA, having won 11 in a row to join the Western Conference’s top three of Phoenix, Golden State and Utah in having separated themselves from the rest of the pack . . . The good news for the Mavericks is the Grizzlies will be on the second night of a back-to-back, having beaten Minnesota 116-108 Thursday in Memphis, so the fatigue factor could enter into play, even though there was no travel involved . . . However, it hasn’t really mattered during the winning streak. The Grizz already have won on the second night of back-to-backs at Phoenix, at Cleveland and at the Lakers during their roll . . . So how have they done it? Hard work has a lot to do with it. That has manifested itself in the rebounding department. They have averaged 10 more boards per game than their opponent during the win streak. And they have won the glass in 10 of the 11 wins . . . They also are averaging 12 points more than their opponent in the run, meaning that most of the games have not been particularly close . . . They are paced by third-year point guard Ja Morant, who flirted with a triple-double against Minnesota with 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. For the season, he is averaging 24.6 points, 6.8 assists and 5.8 rebounds . . . Former TCU standout Desmond Bane should be in the 3-point shooting contest at All-Star Weekend. He’s averaging 17.6 points and shooting 42.2 percent from beyond the arc . . . The Grizz have depth, too. They have amassed their win streak mostly without Dillon Brooks (ankle) but in the win over Minnesota, backup guard John Konchar had 17 rebounds to go with 15 points to lead a strong bench unit . . . They also are without center Steven Adams (COVID-10 protocol).