Game: Dallas Mavericks @ Memphis Grizzlies
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Odds: Mavericks +2, Grizzlies -2
The Dallas Mavericks (36-35, 26-42-3) will visit the FedExForum tonight to face the Memphis Grizzlies (43-27 SU, 33-35-2 ATS). Memphis has won five of its last six games, but the Mavericks have struggled going 5-9 in its previous 14 games. Despite Ja Morant’s extended absence from the starting lineup, the Grizzlies opened as a slim 1.5-point home favorite. The line has moved to Memphis -2 as the Grizzlies have won each of their last eight home games.
On Friday, the Dallas Mavericks won their second straight game by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 111-110 on a last-second three-pointer by Maxi Kleber. In the victory for Dallas, Kyrie Irving was a one-man show, scoring 38 points while no one else managed more than 12.
Irving (foot) might miss tonight’s game. He is listed as questionable. Luka Doncic, who missed his third straight game due to a thigh injury, is also questionable. More than half of Dallas’ offense, or more than 61 points a game, comes from Irving and Doncic. Irving has been on fire this month, averaging 33.6 points per game in his first five games.
Thanks to a great showing from their starting five on Saturday, the Grizzlies easily defeated the Golden State Warriors 133-119. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 31 points, four blocks, and Desmond Bane added 26 points for the winners.
Memphis has been limping along without Morant since he last played on March 3. Without their top player, the Grizzlies are 5-3, with all five of their victories coming in their last six games. Jackson (calf) is listed as questionable for tonight, but he has been a force for Memphis this month. Jackson averages 21 points a game for the month and he is averaging 28 over his last three games.
The Mavericks’ hopes rest on who starts tonight. If both Doncic and Irving are healthy, the Mavs will be in it. If not, it will be very difficult to beat a Grizzlies team that is tied for second place in the Western Conference.
Apart from Irving, rookie Jaden Hardy has stepped up for the Mavericks over the past week or two with some strong performances, scoring 22 points or more in three of his previous four games. Hardy will have to keep contributing if one or two of the Mavs studs don’t play tonight.
Without Morant, the Grizzlies have been winning by committee as four of their starting five players are averaging at least 10 points per game in March. You can add Xavier Tillman to that list with his 9.9 points per game. Memphis has certainly found a way to improve as a team because they are scoring 119.6 points per game without Morant, which is more than three points more than the team’s season average. Jackson and Bane have been averaging 42 points per game in the month of March. Over the previous seven Mavs-Grizzlies games, the Under is 6-1.
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