The Memphis Grizzlies are on their longest winning streak in a year, while the Dallas Mavericks are trying to avoid their longest slide over that same time frame.
The Grizzlies try to win for the 10th time in 11 games and send the Mavericks to a fourth straight defeat Saturday night.
Memphis (30-20) has won five in a row for the first time since taking eight straight from Jan. 21-Feb. 4, 2015. The Grizzlies are averaging 106.6 points during the run, a marked improvement from their 97.5 season mark.
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They overcame a subpar shooting effort Friday, making 43.4 percent from the floor – 4 of 18 from 3-point range – in a 91-85 victory at New York.
“I thought we did a good job of just playing within ourselves,” point guard Mike Conley said. “We didn't get too crazy. We didn't turn the ball over. We made free throws. Those are things that you got to do.”
Conley had eight points and nine assists against the Knicks, giving him averages of 11.8 and 7.8 in eight games after sitting out six with a sore left Achilles.
“I am getting better,” Conley said. “I am not all the way 100 percent. I am trying to adjust, get into basketball shape, get to the All-Star break and get a little bit of rest.”
Before that, Memphis will try to capitalize on a meeting with the Mavericks (28-25), who have lost three straight while yielding 107.0 points and 48.4 percent shooting.
The Mavericks last dropped four in a row from Jan. 23-28, 2015, a stretch that included a 109-90 home loss to the Grizzlies.
Dallas has split two season matchups with Memphis, winning the most recent 97-88 at home on Dec. 18.
The Mavericks will need to be much better than they were Friday against San Antonio if they are to end Memphis' six-game home win streak. They only scored 26 first-half points and trailed the Spurs by a team-record 36 at the break before losing 116-90.
“We had a bad night, but we're going to have to flush it and get ready for (Saturday),” coach Rick Carlisle told the team's official website.
Dallas is 2-10 against winning teams since beating Golden State without Stephen Curry on Dec. 20.
A better effort from Dirk Nowitzki – the team leader with 17.6 points per game – is imperative. He had 10 points Friday after totaling 46 over the two previous games.
He scored 20 against the Grizzlies in December, but he's averaging 15.3 on 35.6 percent shooting – 4 of 15 from behind the arc – over the last three visits to Memphis.
Chandler Parsons is also seeking improvement after totaling 18 points and missing 15 of 22 shots over the last two games. He had 16 points, seven boards and six assists at home against the Grizzlies.
Parsons will try again to slow down Memphis' Jeff Green, who missed all seven of his shots and finished with two points in December's meeting. However, he enters this matchup averaging 24.0 points and 5.4 rebounds in the last five games.
The Grizzlies have been one of the league's best teams on the second of back to backs, winning eight of 10 to trail only San Antonio and Golden State.