Well-rested division rivals will meet for the first time this season when the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.
One game separates the second- and third-place teams in the Southwest Division as the Grizzlies and Mavericks attempt to continue recent trends.
Memphis finds itself at .500 for the fifth time this month. The Grizzlies have been unable to build momentum, following up Friday's 109-95 victory against Detroit with a lopsided 128-97 loss Saturday against Phoenix.
Memphis gave regulars Brandon Clarke, Grayson Allen and Kyle Anderson the night off against the Suns. De'Anthony Melton (11), Xavier Tillman (nine) and Desmond Bane (four) combined for 24 points in rare starts.
The performance was especially disappointing for Bane, who had scored 13 and 18 points in two previous starts and had scored in double figures in nine of his past 10 games.
Grizzlies star Ja Morant seemed to indicate recently that he prefers Bane as his backcourt partner.
"He brings a lot to the table defensively, being able to be physical," Morant praised. "He guards some of the top players. In the offense, being able to spread forward and knock down the shot."
Like the team, Morant has alternated good and bad of late. He's had 22-, 28- and 29-point outings in his last six, but also has interspersed games of 16, 15 and 12.
The Grizzlies got scorched by the Phoenix backcourt on Saturday. Devin Booker had 23 points in 26 minutes, hitting seven of his 13 shots, while Chris Paul accumulated 16 points and six assists in 22 minutes.
The 6-foot-5 Bane gives the Grizzlies a physical match of sorts for Mavericks standout Luka Doncic, who is coming off a 44-point outing in a 121-118 home loss to Portland on Feb. 14.
The Mavericks haven't played since due to inclement weather in the state of Texas. They had a home game against Detroit and a one-game trip to Houston postponed.
Before the loss against Portland, the Mavericks had been on a nice roll, winning four in a row to get back to within a game of .500. Dallas hasn't been at the break-even mark since 8-8 nearly a full month ago.
While they couldn't do it with the basketball, several Mavericks teamed with owner Mark Cuban to assist in the emergency needs in the community during the break. The Mavericks donated $1.25 million.
"There are so many of our fellow Dallasites without food, water and shelter during this devastating winter storm, and we would be remiss if we did not help in some way," center Dwight Powell explained. "I hope that our contributions will give relief to those struggling during this time."
Dallas won two of three from Memphis last season, with Morant missing one Grizzlies loss and Doncic sitting out the lone Memphis win.
--Field Level Media