Grizz Lead

Grizzlies Look to Win Fourth Straight in Dallas

on

The Memphis Grizzlies look to close out their road trip with a fourth-straight victory Friday against the Dallas Mavericks. The Grizzlies are coming off a dominant stretch of games where they’ve outscored their opponents by 95 total points over their last three. Despite missing Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke, the team has held opponents to less than 90 points during those games. A win in Dallas would secure an undefeated road trip, something the team has only accomplished once this season. The team has already faced Dallas twice, with each team winning a game. Led by MVP candidate Luka Doncic, the Mavs are 38-25 and currently hold the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

The Mavericks present quite the challenge for the Grizzlies. They rank 3rd in points per game, 4th in rebounds per game, and 13th in assists per game. They have the highest offensive rating in the league. However, the Grizzlies have been fortunate to avoid facing the Mavericks at full health so far this season. In their first meeting, Kristaps Porzingis was out. In their second meeting, Doncic, JJ Barea, Dwight Powell and Seth Curry were all out for Dallas. Per the NBA’s most recent injury report, this game could be similar to the last. Jalen Brunson and Powell are both listed as out, while Doncic, Barea, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Dorian Finney-Smith are all listed as questionable.

THE WONDER BOY AND THE UNICORN

If Doncic is well enough to play, it will be the first time the Grizzlies will face the dynamic duo of Doncic and Porzingis. Even with injuries to the players around them, the two are talented enough to win games by themselves if necessary. The Mavericks have one of the best pick-and-roll offenses in the league, largely in part to these two. Both are walking mismatches. Without Jackson and Clarke, the Grizzlies will have a tall task on their hands to slow down Dallas’ attack.

Porzingis presents a huge threat for the Grizzlies. He had 32 points and 12 rebounds in their last matchup, and that was with a healthy Clarke and Jackson. Luckily, the Grizzlies have a few veteran defenders that will take their place. Porzingis is 7’3″, but can shoot and handle the ball well enough to create on the perimeter. The Grizzlies will need to focus on keeping defenders around that have the length to contest him, but also that are quick enough to keep up with him when he puts the ball on the floor.

Doncic is the conductor of the Mavericks’ offense. He’s a gifted playmaker, but can also score at a very high level. His ability to score anywhere on the floor makes him an extremely tough match-up for opposing defenses. At 6’7″, Doncic is big enough to shoot over smaller guards, but he is also quick enough to get past bigger players. He has established himself as one of the league’s best drivers. The Grizzlies will need to aggressively defending Doncic without overplaying him and allowing him to pick them apart as a passer.

KEYS TO A GRIZZLIES WIN

  1. Shut down the roll man. The Mavericks’ pick-and-roll scores at elite levels. According to NBA.com, their PnR Roll Man plays score 1.26 points per possession, which leads the league. When it stays in the ballhandler’s hands, they score .91 points per possession. Majority of the ballhander possessions belong to Doncic, who scores 1.05 points per. However, he is the only player with a PnR ballhandler frequency above 25% that scores over 1 point per possession. Taking away the roll man neutralizes a key element of the Mavericks’ offense, and puts strain on other players to step up.
  2. Start strong. The Grizzlies have had slow starts over the last few games. They’ve been fortunate that the opponents have started just as slow. The Grizzlies’ bench unit has been providing the spark that has led to the big wins. It’s safe to assume the Mavericks won’t start slow. Their historic offense leads the league in first quarter points scored according to NBA.com. The Grizzlies’ starters need to start more effectively if they hope to keep their streak alive.
  3. Get to the line. The Mavericks are one of the league’s more disciplined teams on defense. They only commit around 19 fouls per game, which is 7th-lowest in the league. That average drops to 18 in wins, but swells to 21 in losses. With the team banged up, they don’t have the depth they normally would. The Grizzlies can put pressure on Dallas’ players by getting them into foul trouble early. Memphis loves to get to the rim, and they should look to create contact as much as possible when attacking.

Follow us on Twitter @Grizz_Lead for the latest Grizzlies news and insight.

google12011341236c5158.html

About Richmond Bailey Caldwell

Die-hard Grizzlies fan since 2009. Aspiring basketball writer and coach. University of Georgia sport management alum. Perennial first team all-defense selection.

Recommended for you

Powered by themekiller.com