Two of the NBA’s very best jump it up Tuesday night when the Dallas Mavericks pay a visit to FedExForum to challenge the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies are one of three teams with a 16-4 mark, the second-best winning percentage in the league behind only the Golden State Warriors. Dallas is just below Memphis fractionally.
“Well, it’s a big week for us. But, really, if you look at the Western Conference standings, every week is big,” said Dirk Nowitzki. “Every loss is big. We just saw it the other night. We won four or five in a row and we still didn’t move up from the five or six seed, so that’s just how tough it is. So, really, every game every week is big. It’s kind of stupid to say in December, but that’s where we’re at in the Western Conference. You know, every loss can drop you out the playoffs. So, yeah, it’s a big week, but so is every week.”
Tuesday’s tilt is a classic matchup of offense versus defense. The Mavericks are the NBA’s highest-scoring team at 110.6 ppg, while the Grizz rank No. 1 in opponents’ scoring at 93.5 ppg.
The Grizzlies stopped a two-game skid on Sunday night with a 103-87 home drubbing of the Miami Heat.
Jon Leuer poured in 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in just 24 minutes off the bench to lead the Grizzlies on Sunday.
“Leuer had a sensational game,” Grizzlies head coach David Joerger said. “He’s worked on his game. We believe in him.”
Memphis shot a season-high 58.9 percent from the floor to bounce back from having its 22-game home winning streak broken by the Spurs on Friday.
Mike Conley chipped in 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting, while Zach Randolph and Courtney Lee both added 17 in the winning cause. It was an uncharacteristically slow night for Marc Gasol, who was limited to just two points. He did finish with seven assists and six rebounds.
Grizzlies bench stalwart Vince Carter didn’t play on Sunday, but he will be back facing a Mavericks team he spent three seasons with prior to signing in Memphis.
The Mavericks had a five-game winning streak snapped on Friday with a home loss to the Phoenix Suns, but Dallas got back into the win column with a blowout victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
The New York Knicks haven’t prevailed on the road since spoiling LeBron James’ homecoming in Cleveland on Oct. 30.
The Knicks have lost nine in a row on the road and will play their next three games away from home, starting with Tuesday’s matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center.
New York is only 4-18 overall, only two games better than the NBA-worst Philadelphia 76ers, and will also make stops in San Antonio and Boston. The Knicks suffered their eighth straight loss Sunday versus the Portland Trail Blazers, 103-99, and were led by Carmelo Anthony’s 23 points and 10 rebounds.
It was Anthony’s first double-double of the season and he’s sixth in the NBA in scoring with 23.2 points per game.
J.R. Smith scored 20 points off the bench and Amare Stoudemire ended with 16 and 10 rebounds. Iman Shumpert had 11 points and the Knicks made 51.9 percent from the field (5-of-19 from 3-point range). New York had a 97-95 lead with 3 1/2 minutes left on Anthony’s layup, then the Blazers closed the game on an 8-2 run.
“There’s a level of attention to detail that we’re still below in order to win these games,” said Knicks head coach Derek Fisher. “We’re obviously doing enough to be in the game and have a chance to win.”
Seven of New York’s eight consecutive losses have been by seven points or less. The Knicks are 0-5 on the first game of a back-to-back.
12/09/2014 NBA releases
Knicks vs Pelicans
Release 1:Knicks ML
Release 2:Knicks +7.5
Raptors vs Cavaliers