Matchup: Washington Wizards (10-12) at Dallas Mavericks (13-12)
When: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. (TV: CSN+, CSNMidatlantic.com via NBC Sports Live Extra)
When last we met: First meeting this season. Washington swept the two-game series last season including a rare win in Memphis, 92-83 on April 4. The Wizards had lost nine straight at FedEx Forum.
Streaks: With Saturday's 114-11 victory at Dallas Saturday, the Wizards have won three of their last four road games with all the W's coming against teams with winning records. ...While Washington blew a big lead but held on for the win, Memphis fell 100-97 Sunday at Miami despite holding a 16-point cushion. Now the Grizzlies are back home, where they've lost four of six.
Three things to watch
1. Randolph the reserve: As the NBA moved heavily into small lineups last season, the Wizards and Grizzlies were two teams that remained traditional. Washington started Marcin Gortat and Nene inside while Memphis sported the potent combination of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The Wizards shook things up from the start this season with Nene coming off the bench in favor of Kris Humphries, a perimeter shooting threat. Jared Dudley now occupies that role for Washington. Meanwhile the Grizzlies have now followed suit as Randolph came off the bench Sunday against the Heat. Matt Barnes moved into the starting lineup with former Georgetown star Jeff Green shifting to the stretch-4 role. Despite the loss, the move paid off offensively as Memphis shot 51 percent from the field.
2. Point-producing Porter: Without injured guard Bradley Beal, Washington needed an offensive boost somewhere. Against the Mavs, it came from Otto Porter, who scored a career-high 28 points. Beal won't be back until after Christmas at the earliest so the Wizards need this aggressive version of Porter to hang around. The Wizards are 4-1 this season when he scores at least 17 points.
3. Point guard battle: Mike Conley isn't always mentioned along the elite floor leaders, but the Grizzlies' guard is among the better two-way options in the league. His steady presence along with the Gasol-Randolph pair inside have carried the Grizzlies in recent seasons. Based on numbers, John Wall rises to this specific challenge. In six meetings dating back to 2011, the Wizards' All-Star is averaging 22.7 points, 8.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 51.7 percent from the field and a stunning 41.2 percent on 3-pointers. Of course, Conley's side won four of those six games. His 17.8 points and 7.7 assists helped the cause.
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