MEMPHIS — Hoping to carry over the momentum of their first win of the season, the Dallas Mavericks will step into Fed Ex Forum with a bit of confidence Thursday night while completing a home-and-home series with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Led by rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr.’s career-high 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting and five assists, the Mavericks (1-4) struck first with a 103-94 victory Wednesday at home. The Mavs will now look for a repeat performance on the road against their Southwest Division rival. But after handing the Grizzlies (3-1) their first loss of the season while capturing their first win, the Mavericks expect to be in for another dogfight Thursday night.
“There was a sense of urgency,” veteran swingman Wesley Matthews said after scoring 16 points in Wednesday’s win. “We didn’t want to start like we did last year. Say what you want, but at some point we had to put everything together. We had good stretches against Atlanta, good stretches against Sacramento, good stretches against Houston and great stretches against Golden State, so we just had to put it together a little bit. We still need to do better going into (Thursday), but it’s a good start and a good win for us.”
Led by Smith in just his third professional outing, the Mavericks finished with six scorers in double figures. The Mavs also outshot the Grizzlies for the game, 48.6 percent to 45.8 percent, overcoming a 36-35 rebounding disadvantage with 22 points off Memphis’ 18 turnovers. However, after seeing center Marc Gasol lead three Grizzlies in double figures with 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle knows his team will face a daunting task one night later. That said, Carlisle hopes the Mavericks build on Wednesday’s performance with another gritty effort away from home.
“Look, everybody played well, and we needed everybody to play well (Wednesday),” Carlisle explained.
“Our level of force was good,” he added. “Matthews got us off to a good start offensively. We rebounded with them, and we were ahead on the boards most of the game, I believe, and then they got a few late. Possession of the ball stats, we’ve got to get those evened out, and we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
Note: The Mavericks will now complete their home-and-home series against the Southwest Division rival Memphis Grizzlies on the road Thursday night. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.
The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.
Devin Harris (personal reasons) — not with the team
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — not with the team
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — not with the team