Measuring Up

Over the next week, the Dallas Mavericks will see how they measure up against the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. But first they face the lowly Memphis Grizzlies, whom they pretty much know how they match up against.

The Mavericks (30-13) look to win their ninth straight over the Grizzlies and remain unbeaten at FedEx Forum on Monday in the start a four-game road trip.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Dallas -7.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 204 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 60% of bets for this game have been placed on Dallas -7.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

After posting the NBA's best record last season at 67-15, Dallas is once again among the top teams in the league. The Mavericks are one game in back of Southwest Division-leading New Orleans, which also is percentage points ahead of Phoenix for the best record in the Western Conference.

Later this week, Dallas will visit the East's three division leaders. The Mavericks face Boston on Thursday, followed by Detroit on Sunday and Orlando next Monday, but they'll try not to overlook the first stop of their trip - Memphis (13-31) is last in the Southwest, 17 1/2 games behind Dallas.

The Mavericks beat the Grizzlies 108-105 on Nov. 17, and have won eight straight over them since a 112-92 home loss on Nov. 26, 2005.

Dallas is just 10-10 on the road this season, but has had no problems in Memphis, winning all six games its played at FedEx Forum since the arena's opening before the 2004-05 season. The Mavericks are 10-2 all-time in Memphis, and are 41-7 all-time against the Grizzlies franchise.

Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points and nine rebounds against the Grizzlies in November, and is averaging 27.4 points and 10.0 boards during the winning streak against them.

Nowitzki tallied 32 points - including 14 of the Mavericks' final 16 - in Sunday's 90-85 win over Denver. He sank consecutive 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter after making just 1-of-8 shots from beyond the arc in his last seven games.

"If I'm open, I'm still going to shoot,'' said Nowitzki, who was 12-of-17 from the field, and also had 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. "I'm staying confident. I keep getting good looks, too. I'm not worried. The team wants me to shoot them when I'm open.''

The win was the Mavericks' third in a row and 11th in 13 games.

Josh Howard had 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists against the Nuggets. He's averaging 24.8 points and 9.3 boards in his last four games, up from 14.0 points and 7.8 rebounds in his previous four.

Howard had 27 points and seven boards against Memphis earlier this season.

The Grizzlies opened a season-high five-game homestand with a 125-120 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday to win for just the fifth time in 19 games.

With Pau Gasol missing his second straight game with a sore back, Rudy Gay scored a career-high 34 and had a season-high 12 rebounds. Gay was 13-of-25 from the floor - including 4-of-8 from 3-point range.

He had one of his worst shooting performances of the season against the Mavericks in November, scoring nine points on just 3-of-12 shooting.

Mike Miller had 27 points against the Clippers, and is averaging 25.3 points on 14-of-18 shooting from 3-point range in his last three games against Dallas.

"(The Mavericks) are a great team with loads of talent" Miller said. "We understand what they are bringing in here, and we have to be ready to play."

Memphis hopes Gasol, who averages 19.1 points and 8.9 rebounds, will be back for this game.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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