Memphis comes to the American Airlines Center tonight set to play its fifth game in six nights and third in a row. The Mavs know how that feels and it certainly didn't look pretty.
The Grizzlies, however, do have a head of steam coming in and motivation to finish off a perfect back-to-back-to-back. They slayed the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Monday night and rallied from 12 points down in the fourth quarter at home Tuesday night to defeat Golden State.
Advantage Mavs, right?
"It's really no advantage," guard Delonte West said. "But what we have to do is we have to come out and put it on them. We've got to bring energy. If the calculations are right, they should be the more tired team. We can't come out and let them dictate tempo and, you know, decide the game. We've got to bring it to them and hopefully we can wear them down by the fourth."
A win tonight would give the Grizz a three-game lead over the Mavs in the loss column with a chance to further widen the gap when the two teams meet again in Memphis on Saturday night.
Conversely, if Dallas can find the energy to get an important win in the middle game of this three-game homestand, it can put the pressure on Memphis, which plays at Miami on Friday before meeting up with the Mavs to finish off this season series that the Grizz lead 1-0.
Records: Grizzlies (30-22); Mavs (30-24)
Where: American Airlines Center
Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Rebounds. The Mavs have been getting killed on the boards, particularly on the defensive end where they're giving up way too many second-chance points. How effective the Mavs are at rebounding against a team that will be weary could very well dictate their fate.
Key matchup: Dirk Nowitzki vs. Zach Randolph Nowitzki lasted 10 minutes in the Feb. 29 loss at Memphis because of lower-back tightness. Randolph was still out with a knee injury, so these two will go at it for the first time this season. The 6-foot-9, 260-pound Randolph likes to defend Nowitzki by using his weight to lean on Dallas' 7-foot forward who has to have high scoring games these days for the Mavs to win. Randolph, whether playing for Portland, New York, the Clippers or Grizzlies has had a knack for terrorizing the Mavs.