O. J. Mayo visited his old stomping grounds earlier this year and things didn’t go so well as Mayo had one of his off nights, going 3-11 for 10 points and the Mavericks dropped a 92-82 game to the Grizzlies.
This time the Grizzlies will be in Big D, which unfortunately still doesn’t bode well for a Mavericks team trying to turn things around. The Grizzlies are 4th in the West at 24-10.
Memphis has had a couple of small rough spots this season but has won 4 in a row. However, since Dallas’ biggest problems on defense, its better to face a team like the Grizzlies who are an excellent defensive team (2nd in the league) while well down the list in scoring (23rd) if you have to play one of the better teams in the league. Dallas remains near the bottom in points allowed (29th).
Memphis continues to share the wealth with four players averaging 13.5-18 points lead by Rudy Gay at 18 ppg and Zach Randolph at 17, who also grabs 12 rpg and the two of them with Marc Gasol form one of the most imposing front lines in the NBA. The Mavericks will have a tough time guarding them inside, much as they did in the first meeting when Gay notched 26 points and Gay and Gasol grabbed 13 and 11 boards, respectively.
Memphis does rely heavily on its starting 5 while Dallas ranks 3rd in the league in bench scoring so if the starters can be competitive there is a good chance the bench can be the spark. Getting Elton Brand going along with playing Brandan Wright and Bernard James for some scoring at the rim and interior defense might be a refreshing change, dontcha think? In addition, relying on Mayo too much has proven pretty much feast or famine this season and it’s time for Rick Carlisle to have a plan B besides Dirk when Mayo is running cold rather than hot.