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The Memphis Grizzlies will continue to be a tough contest for the Mavs

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Back and tougher than ever, the Grizz once again should be a hard out for any team in the West this season.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies took three of four games against the Mavericks a season ago en route to a 55-27 record, good for second in the Southwest Division. With much of the same team returning, Memphis once again looks primed to be a playoff lock, and a tough out for anyone looking to advance through the Western Conference.

Key Dates

  • Tuesday, November 24 at Memphis
  • Friday, December 18 in Dallas
  • Saturday, February 6 at Memphis
  • Friday, April 8 in Dallas

How has Memphis changed over the summer?

Gone are some key role players from last year's squad -- Nick Calathes and Kosta Koufos -- but ultimately the Grizzlies did one of the most important things in the NBA during the offseason: they kept their franchise player. Memphis signed center Marc Gasol to a max 5-year/$113 million contract. While Mike Conley is entering the final year of his contract, Zach Randolph has assured folks that Conley's deal is "taken care of."

The Grizzlies signed former Maverick Brandan Wright and traded for forward Matt Barnes this summer to help bolster their bench, and they picked up LSU power forward Jerrell Martin and Kentucky point guard Andrew Harrison in the draft. Both Martin and Harrison are currently on the roster, but Memphis needs to shed a player to get down to 15, and recent rumors suggest Harrison is the odd man out.

What is the Mavericks' biggest challenge against the Grizzlies?

Dallas' biggest challenge against Memphis will be the same as it has been in recent years: play in the paint. Gasol averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds against Dallas in 2014-15, while Randolph averaged 19.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. Zaza Pachulia and Samuel Dalembert are nice players, but they, along with the rest of the league, will struggle with the pairing of Gasol and Randolph down low.

What is Memphis' biggest challenge against the Mavericks?

Dallas' offense should have the ability to move the ball well in 2015-16, and that, along with improved outside shooting, could make things difficult for the Grizzlies, especially when guys like Tony Allen and Mike Conley are off the court. If we're being honest, though, the Grizzlies are simply not a great matchup for Dallas.

Which game against Memphis will be craziest and why?

The first game Dallas has its full complement of players will be the game I most look forward to watching, which probably means the December 18 matchup. It very well could be one of the first games Wesley Matthews plays as a Dallas Maverick, and I'm excited to see what a Matthews-Parsons duo can do against an Allen-Green or Allen-Barnes duo.