Venue: American Airlines Center
The Memphis Grizzlies took a big step back in their quest for home-court advantage in a first-round playoff series with a disappointing defeat their last time out.
Getting back on track could prove difficult against the Dallas Mavericks, who are still playing hard despite being eliminated from contention.
The Grizzlies try to pick up a rare road win over the Mavericks as these Southwest Division rivals square off Monday night.
Having long since clinched its third straight playoff berth, Memphis' chances of hosting a first-round series took a turn for the worse Saturday in a 91-87 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference, the Grizzlies (54-26) own the same record as the Pacific-champion Clippers and are one game behind third-place Denver. All three teams are fighting for home-court advantage, but Memphis is on the wrong side of both tiebreakers.
"It's real frustrating because we needed this game," Zach Randolph said after posting 16 points and 12 rebounds. "But it is what it is. The real season starts next week, and we got to be ready whoever it may be. We just got to have our confidence to go in there whoever's here and be ready."
The Grizzlies, who had won seven of their previous eight, can't be feeling good about visiting the Mavericks. Memphis is 6-30 all-time in Dallas, which includes two playoff defeats, and the last two losses have been by an average of 15.5 points.
While Dallas will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2000, coach Rick Carlisle's team is finishing strong. Winners in four of five, the Mavericks (40-40) got back to .500 for the first time since they were 11-11 on Dec. 12 with Sunday's 107-89 victory at New Orleans.
"I thought we played some good basketball the last couple weeks. We won some close games, we actually made it interesting towards the playoffs, so I'm happy with the way we've fought," said Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 19 points to surpass 25,000 for his career.
"Even now, we're playing really for nothing, but it means something for us to be a winning team and hopefully we can finish with a winning season."
Nowitzki became just the 17th player in NBA history to reach the 25,000-point plateau, and he figures to receive a booming ovation when the Mavericks return home Monday.
"It's been a crazy ride, it's a big milestone," he said. "I would have loved obviously to do it at home in front of our home fans, home fans that meant so much to me over the 15 years in the league. ... I'm glad I got it over with and we got the win."
Shawn Marion continued his impressive play with 21 points Sunday. He's averaging 20.6 - 8.5 more than his season mark - on 59.7 percent shooting during Dallas' 4-1 run.
O.J. Mayo, though, has struggled lately. Second on the team with 15.6 points per game, Mayo has averaged 9.0 on 34.8 percent shooting over the last nine.
Mayo, who spent the previous four seasons with Memphis before signing with Dallas, has been limited to an average of 10.7 points in three matchups against his former team.
Memphis' Mike Conley, who is second on his team in scoring at 14.7, is shooting 21.4 percent and averaging 7.0 points - his worst against any opponent - in three games against Dallas this season. He has scored 12 in each of his last two games on a combined 32.0 percent shooting after averaging 21.8 points on 59.5 percent shooting in the month's first five games.
Dallas won 104-83 at home Jan. 12 but dropped two road matchups against the Grizzlies, who have taken six of eight in the series overall.
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