The Memphis Grizzlies are struggling through a five-game losing streak, but help could be on the horizon in the form of their next opponent. The Grizzlies will try to get themselves right at the expense of the worst team in the NBA when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
Memphis dropped the first three of a four-game homestand while playing without point guard Mike Conley (Achilles), but it believes it is close to breaking out. “You’ve got to look for some small victories in this stuff when you’re crawling through the mud,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale told reporters after a 100-92 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday. “We’ve just got to keep digging and stick together, and keep trying to weather this. I liked our approach this week. I even liked us in the locker room right now. We were just way more connected and just more about let’s just keep trying to figure it out.” The Mavericks own the most losses in the NBA (15) but are playing better of late and pulled off a 111-79 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday before taking the NBA-best Boston Celtics to overtime in a 110-102 setback on Monday. “We’re making progress,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “We just aren’t putting the kind of wins on the board that we feel we can. And the only thing that can short circuit us from making more progress is to take our eye off the ball in terms of making more progress. If we stay in the process, we will win our share of games.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), FSN Southeast (Memphis)
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (3-15): Harrison Barnes matched a season high with 31 points on Monday but missed a potential game-winner in the final second of regulation and was hard on himself in defeat. “As the closer, I’ve got to be better,” Barnes told reporters. “At the end of the day, it’s got to show up in wins and losses. There’s no moral victories around here. Tonight, playing against a great team, we had a great opportunity to win here in front of our fans. But like I said, we let it slip away.” Rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was limited to eight points on 4-of-16 shooting in the loss and is 9-of-36 from the floor in the last three contests.
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (7-9): Memphis was dejected after a 105-83 loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday but felt that it picked up its level of play considerably in Monday’s setback. “I think this game, obviously, we didn’t have a great night shooting, but defensively we were way more engaged, way more physical, way more aggressive, way more proactive, and that’s what it’s going to take,” center Marc Gasol told reporters after the loss to Portland. “Obviously, then, we have to make shots and give good passes, but those things you can clean up and you can build on.” Gasol delivered 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in Monday’s setback but is just 13-of-37 from the floor over the last two games.
1. Mavericks PF Brandan Wright (groin) sat out Monday’s game and has already been ruled out for Wednesday.
2. Grizzlies SG Tyreke Evans scored 20 or more points in seven of nine games this month.
3. Memphis earned a 96-91 home win over the Mavericks on Oct. 26 after falling 103-94 at Dallas the previous night.
PREDICTION: Grizzlies 99, Mavericks 92