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97


NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 15th (All times Eastern)

Memphis Grizzlies (54-26) at Dallas Mavericks (40-40), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies can still get the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs, but have a tough task ahead of them against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night in Big D.

The Grizzlies trail the Denver Nuggets by one game with just two to go. The Los Angeles Clippers are also one game back of Denver, but they are guaranteed at least the fourth seed by virtue of winning the Pacific Division.

Memphis fell to the Clippers at home on Saturday, 91-87. That snapped a 13- game home winning streak for the Grizzlies in a possible first-round playoff preview.

"They earned the game," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "They played better than us and they had less lulls than us. It's going to be a dog fight every game. You have to just go out and compete."

Marc Gasol led the way for Memphis with 18 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. Zach Randolph had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Tayshaun Prince netted 13 and Mike Conley added 12 points.

As the playoffs near, the Grizzlies aren't giving up hope on that third seed. Gasol and Randolph both played over 38 minutes against the Clippers and Conley was one second short of 37.

"What does rest mean?," Hollins asked. "I think you just keep playing. I've been pretty good with the minutes until tonight. I think I've kept everyone's minutes pretty low."

The Mavs reached .500 for the first time since December on Sunday night with a 107-89 road victory over the New Orleans Hornets. Evening their record, the Mavs could finally shave beards they started growing midseason.

"It's been too long. My wife stopped kissing me some time in February. It felt good to shave again, especially when you think that we were 10 games under. Nobody thought that we could actually fight back," Dirk Nowitzki said. "I'm proud of the guys, how (they) could fight back. We won some close games, we won some big games and made it interesting all the way down the stretch."

Nowitzki scored 19 points in the win and became the 17th player in NBA history to score at least 25,000 points.

"I mean, it's an unbelievable accomplishment," said Nowitzki. "I knew I had to get 10 (points). You know, I would have loved to do it at home for our fans that supported me for the last 15 years and came out every year and came out every game."

Shawn Marion led the Mavs with 21 points and Brandan Wright, Vince Carter and Chris Kaman also cracked the 10-point mark.

The Grizzlies have taken two of three from the Mavericks this season, with both wins coming at home. Memphis has won six of eight against the Mavs and the two teams have split the last four in Dallas.

04/15 10:24:06 ET