The Mavericks continue their home stand with their series finale against Memphis. The Mavericks have won two of their first three meetings, so a win would lock up the tiebreaker if Memphis were to tie Dallas in the standings down the road.
Dallas will be without Dereck Lively and Dante Exum once again, while Memphis boasts an injury report as extensive as the day is long. This game feels like a bit of a trap for the Mavericks and could be close in the fourth quarter. Will the Mavericks take care of business? Here are three things to watch for that will play into whether or not Dallas can beat the Grizzlies.
Luka Doncic vs… Desmond Bane?
Ja Morant missed the first three meetings of this season series due to suspension and now finds himself out for the year to recover from shoulder surgery. This means we will get zero matchups between him and Doncic this year. Desmond Bane is the main playmaker when Morant is out, averaging 24.5 points and five assists in his absence. Doncic has averaged 26 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in his career against Memphis, including four consecutive games of 32 points or better. Although it is not the star-studded matchup we hoped to see, it will provide enough excitement for a Tuesday night in January.
The continued importance of Dwight Powell playing well
In Dereck Lively’s absence, Dwight Powell has been asked to step up and play significant minutes. He has done a good job and looked exceptionally big against Minnesota. Normally you wouldn’t remember that he is six-foot-ten, but he held his own against one of the biggest teams in the league. Memphis has a lot of skilled big men, including reigning Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Jackson Jr. Powell is going to need to stand his ground once again for the Mavericks to win their fourth consecutive game.
Role players galore
This will be a battle of the “other guys”. The Mavericks need people like Derrick Jones Jr. and Grant Williams to hit shots, and Memphis needs Santi Aldama and Xavier Tillman to take advantage of the shorthanded Dallas center rotation. It will be interesting to see who steps up to move the needle, but at least the Mavericks have the edge in star power.
How to watch
Dallas and Memphis will tip off at 7:30 CST and will be broadcast on Bally Sports Southwest for local fans, and NBA TV for the national audience.