• It’s Friday night and the feeling’s right as the NBA has 10 games on the docket to start your weekend. With the playoffs rapidly approaching, it has become a bit difficult to find the right games to watch. Is this team going to rest players? Which of these teams are still fighting for a playoff spot? These are just a couple of questions that you may be asking yourself when looking at this large slate of games. That’s why Hoop Ball is here to help guide you to the games that you won’t want to miss.

    The Honorable Mentions: The Pacers look to take down the Raptors, the Wizards face the Pistons and the Bucks try their luck against the Celtics.

    Now for Friday’s ‘must watch’ game of the night.

    Memphis Grizzlies vs. Dallas Mavericks

    Tip Time: 8:30 pm (est)

    Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    Player Matchup: Zach Randolph and Dirk Nowitzki

    This game is not the flashiest of the bunch, but out of all the games scheduled for today, this is the only one that is expected to have all of their players on the court. Plus, this game has the potential to have a playoff atmosphere with the Grizzlies sitting fifth in the standings and the Mavericks sitting in seventh.

    Memphis (42-36) has surprisingly stayed afloat after losing their two franchise centerpieces Mike Conley and Marc Gasol to injury. Rookie forward JaMychal Green has been a big reason as to why they have been able to keep their heads above water. Over his last 10 games, Green has averaged 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 42.9 percent from the field. These numbers don’t jump off the page, but on any given night this kid has the potential to give you a double-double with a few defensive stats.

    “We’re just starving to get a win,” coach Dave Joerger said. “Every night we just go out and compete. We’re just like okay well what’s the next one?”

    Zach Randolph, at age 34, has had to be the backbone of the Grizzlies this season. Over his last 10 games, the 14-year veteran has averaged 20.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field.

    The Mavericks (40-38) are also a team that has been hit by injuries, after recently losing their starting point guard Deron Williams due to a sports hernia. Head coach Rick Carlisle is known as one of the best coaches in the NBA today and his schemes and adjustments have proven that once again this year. The Mavs have now slowed the pace offensively with Williams sidelined and the team has also shown a sense of urgency on the defensive side of the floor.

    “I am proud of our guys for being willing to be team guys and play this way,” Carlisle said. “ We lived to fight another day.”

    Dallas is currently on a five-game winning streak and finds themselves only trailing the Grizzlies by two games to jump from the seventh seed to the fifth. J.J. Barea has been a huge reason for the team’s success, and he has been the biggest beneficiary of the Williams injury. Over the team’s five-game winning streak, Barea has averaged 24.2 and seven assists per game.

    “I like to play fast too, but slowing it down is working for us,” Barea said following the big win against the Rockets on Wednesday. “We’ve got to stay that way.”

    I wouldn’t expect to see a high-scoring affair between these two teams, but what you can expect is for these two teams to go all out to win this game. With so many veterans on both rosters, you never know if one of them rolled out of the bed wrong and hurt themselves. Be sure to stay close to Hoop Ball for any updates on the players’ statuses before tip-off.

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