The Grind Can’t Stop: Grizzlies vs. Mavericks Preview

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Tonight the Memphis Grizzlies (42-36) will face the Dallas Mavericks (40-38) in Dallas.  The Mavericks currently lead the series between the two teams, 2-1.  The Grizzlies won the first match-up in November at home (110-96), lost in Dallas in December (88-97), and lost at home in February (110-114, OT).

They are looking to even up the series tonight as they fight to maintain their standing in the 5th spot in the Western Conference.  The last few games for these teams have been complete opposites.  The Grizzlies won on Tuesday (Bulls) after suffering their longest losing streak (6 games) since November 2009.

The Mavericks, however, have been on an upswing, winning their last 5 games including a crucial win against the Rockets on Wednesday.  Like the Grizzlies, the Mavericks have been without their starting point guard, Deron Williams, due to injury.

However, unlike the Grizzlies who also lost their back-up point guard, Mario Chalmers, the Mavericks have seen their back-up, JJ Barea, step up and lead their team from outside the playoff picture to the 7th spot.  How do the Grizzlies stop the 5 game streak of the Mavericks in Dallas?


Stay Desperate

After Tuesday night’s win, the common word in the locker room was desperate.  The Grizzlies played like a desperate team on Tuesday because they were.  After going on a 6 game losing streak, including losing every game in the previous week’s 3 game home stand, the Grizzlies were desperate for a win.  They were desperate because they’ve lost all the space they had between them and Portland for the 5th spot in the West.  They were desperate because they were almost about to lose one of the longest active playoff streaks in the league because while they were losing the teams under them (Portland, Dallas, Utah, Houston) were winning.

A loss by Houston last night to the Phoenix Suns (yes, the same Suns that have wreaked havoc on the Grizzlies this season) helped the Grizzlies to clinch a playoff spot for the 6th consecutive season.  That doesn’t mean the desperate play should cease though.  The Grizzlies match-up best with the Clippers.  In order to play the Clippers, the Grizzlies need to stay in 5th.  The Grizzlies have to win to stay in 5th.


Stay Confident & Composed

The Grizzlies have signed Jordan Farmar for the rest of the year.  They’ve also reportedly signed Xavier Munford to a multi-year contract.  On Tuesday, everyone looked confident and secure most of the game.  There was marginal room for error.  The Grizzlies remained composed and sure of themselves the entire game.  Whether they’ve been a part of this franchise all season or just came in the last month, every player on this team must stay confident.  They must be confident in each other and confident in themselves in order to fare well against this Dallas team that’s clicking on all cylinders pretty well here lately.  They’ve got to play through mistakes and officiating.  They have to have their mind set on winning at all costs.


Start Hot & Stay Hot

The Grizzlies need to get off to a good start.  It’s imperative that the likely starters (Farmar, Allen, Barnes, Randolph, Andersen) set the tone for the game EARLY.  It is crucial that the bench players continue to give their all for whatever amount of minutes that they have.  The Grizzlies bench has been integral in keeping this team afloat through all the injuries that the starters have suffered.  The Grizzlies need them to push through Friday’s game as well in order to get a victory.


The Road to the Playoffs

The Grizzlies are going to the playoffs, and they’ve made history doing it.  There have been a total of 28 players to don the Beale Street Blue this season.  No other team has done that and made the playoffs.  They’ve also managed to stay above 0.500.  Although other teams have the luxury of resting their players, there’s no rest for the weary among the Grizzlies.

After clinching a playoff spot for the 6th consecutive season, the Grizzlies are now looking to hold on to the 5th spot in the Western Conference.  They have three more games after tonight’s match-up in Dallas:  a home game against the Golden State Warriors tomorrow, and road games against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Warriors on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Trailblazers, who are hot on the heels of the Grizzlies for 5th, only have two more games:  at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday and at home against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.  Every game counts.


If you’re in Memphis, head down to Lafayette’s in Overton Square (2119 Madison Avenue) to join other fans for a Watch Party to cheer the home team on to victory.  Tip-off is at 7:30 tonight.  Don’t miss any of the action.  Go Grizz!


Carmen Patton
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