Sun, 22 May 2022

Mavericks look to claim season series vs. Grizzlies

Field Level Media
23 Jan 2022, 12:19 GMT+10

Two of the hottest teams in the NBA meet Sunday as the visiting Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks wrap up their season series.

Both teams are 8-2 over their last 10 games.

Dallas has won two of the first three meetings against Memphis this season, including a 112-85 victory on Jan. 14. Mavericks star Luka Doncic had 27 points as the Mavericks ended the Grizzlies' 11-game winning streak.

Doncic is averaging 25.2 points for Dallas, which had their four-game winning streak come to an end with Thursday's 109-101 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Doncic scored 28 points in the loss but was limited to eight minutes in the fourth quarter after hurting his neck on a hard fall near the basket. He said he expects to play on Sunday.

"It's my neck. It's my spine," Doncic said. "Now we've got to treat it every day. A lot of massages so that it will get better in a couple days. It's a lot of massages and steam room. Those things help a lot to erase the pain, to erase the muscle tightness."

The Mavericks conclude their five-game homestand against a Memphis team that bounced back from a 12-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks with a 122-118 win over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

Point guard Ja Morant set a career-high with 23 points in the first half and finished with 38 points in the win. The dynamic third-year pro is averaging 25.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists.

"I know there are conversations about him being an All-Star. That's a for-sure thing," Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. "He's playing at an All-Star level. And I think he's playing at an MVP level."

The Grizzlies are missing Dillon Brooks (left ankle sprain) as well as Kyle Anderson, Tyus Jones and Desmond Bane, who are all in the league's health and safety protocol.

While Morant has carried the scoring load with so many players missing, guard De'Anthony Melton provided a welcome spark off the bench with 21 points and nine rebounds against Denver.

Memphis also received a boost from rookie forward Ziaire Williams, who tied his career high with 17 points with five rebounds and two steals.

The Grizzlies would like to see a repeat performance from Williams against Dallas, which has won six of its last seven home games.

Despite losing to the Suns on Thursday, Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis was encouraged by his team's performance. Porzingis had 18 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks against Phoenix, which outscored Dallas 35-19 in the fourth quarter.

"They're No. 1, No. 2 in the league," said Porzingis. "They're a good team. I feel like we're right there, especially the way we're playing lately. If you start building something, the internal confidence keeps growing and you develop a little more sauce. This was a loss, but there's definitely things we can take from this that are positive."

Forward Maxi Kleber has started each of the Mavericks' last 10 games, averaging 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds over that stretch.

The team has also been pleased by the production from fourth-year guard Jalen Brunson, who scored 19 points in the loss to Phoenix but committed six turnovers. Brunson is averaging 15.8 points, 5.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals -- all career highs.

--Field Level Media

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