Tough Week for Dallas Mavericks Begins in Memphis


The Dallas Mavericks start a tough three-game stretch tonight against a division-rival, the Memphis Grizzlies, and despite winning 12 of their last 15 games the Mavericks have plenty to be concerned about heading into the benchmark road game.

More from The Smoking Cuban

Dallas boasts a record of 16-6, but hasn’t fared well against the elite teams of the western conference. Four of their six losses have come at the hands of San Antonio, Portland, Houston, and most recently Phoenix. So far this year Dallas has bludgeoned bottom dwellers, but has only beaten four playoff teams from last year, all from the eastern conference.

The matchup against Memphis will be a classic clash of styles. The Mavericks lead the league in scoring at 110.6 points per game, while the Grizzlies, led by Marc Gasol and Tony Allen, are number one in scoring defense allowing just 93.5 points per game to opponents.

Oct 20, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) shoots over and is fouled by Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) during the second half at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Grizzlies 108-103. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Their defense under second-year head coach Dave Joerger has been stupendous, but a big reason for their 16-4 record this season has been their uptick in offensive production. Last year the Grizzlies scored just 96.1 points per game, 27th in the league. This year they’ve upped their average to crack the century mark at 100.4, just above the league average of 100.2.

More from Mavs News

This will be a good measuring stick game for the Mavericks. Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, and Monta Ellis combined for 68 points Sunday night against Milwaukee, and Dallas will need a similar performance from their three highest scorers to come away with a victory at the FedExForum. They’ll also need to play better defense against the improved Grizzlies. Mike Conley Jr., perennially underrated, really makes them go. The backcourt rotation will need to slow him down to have a chance.

If the Mavericks want to contend for a title this year they’ll need to beat the western conference elite on the road. This is a good opportunity to prove their mettle against one of the best defenses in the league.