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3 things to watch as the Mavericks visit Memphis on their first back to back

A duel of two teams on a back to back.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks are coming off a demoralizing home loss against the Knicks on Friday night, but there’s no time to lick their wounds. In their first back-to-back of the season, the Mavericks will travel to face the Memphis Grizzlies, who are coming off a bad beat of their own on Friday night. This will be a showcase featuring two teams on short rest who just finished traveling overnight. It might not be pretty, but let’s hope the Mavs can dig deep and avoid dropping winnable games.

Promising young players Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant await the Mavs in Memphis, but after playing the Magic and the Knicks one after the other, maybe the Mavericks will be glad to see a lineup not made up entirely out of power forwards.

Keep Memphis cold

Memphis has the league’s 28th ranked offense. That may not come as much of a comfort though, seeing as how the 29th and 30th ranked offenses are the Knicks and Magic, respectively, and the Mavs defense didn’t exactly look like world beaters against either of those teams.

This should be, in theory, another opportunity for the Mavs to figure out what they want their defense to look like against a team that, so far this season, has struggled offensively. The Knicks shook off their troubles on offense for long enough to shoot 14/28 from three against Dallas. Memphis, on the other hand, has the third lowest three-point frequency in the league, and hits only 29.4 percent as a team. Keeping them in that realm would sure help a lot to come away with a win.

Defending the perfect road record

Despite their struggles at the AAC, Dallas is the sole owner of the league’s last remaining perfect road record at 3-0. Memphis, while they only have two wins this season to go with their 6 losses, have grabbed both of their victories at home.

It’s a shocking turn of events after the Mavericks won a grand total of nine road games all of last year, but who am I to question a good thing? It’d be nice to see the Mavs keep the good times rolling while on the road while they figure out how to capture some of that magic back home in Dallas.

Is the bench going to show up?

Before melting down against New York, Dallas was the League’s best rated offense. While a lot of that had to do with the stylings of one Luka Doncic, it was also buoyed by a deep and potent bench who seemed able to produce a different hero each night. Delon Wright has stepped up. J.J. Barea sparked a momentum shift. Even Tim Hardaway Jr has had moments where he excelled. None of those things happened Friday night.

Despite yet another triple double from Luka, including a career high 38 points, and a highly efficient 28 from Kristaps Porzingis, who shot 50% from the field and from three, the bench (or any of the other starters) had nothing to offer. Hardaway Jr was the only other player to score in double digits, but it took a 5-15 shooting night to get there.

The rotations — and even the starting five — is still a work very much in progress, but no matter who starts and who’s coming off the bench, the Mavericks are going to need someone to contribute to avoid games like the one against the Knicks and Portland where two Dallas players shined, but the team ultimately ended up with a loss.

How to watch

Tip off in Memphis is set for 7:00 pm Central, and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass.