(SportsNetwork.com) - Two Southwest Division titans clash Friday night when the Memphis Grizzlies pay a visit to American Airlines Center to take on the Dallas Mavericks.
The Grizzlies lead the Southwest by one game over the Houston Rockets and 3 1/2 over the Mavs. Memphis is the second seed in the Western Conference, while Dallas is tied for fifth with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Mavericks have won three in a row, all at home. They opened this five-game homestand with a 33-point loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavs, then ran off wins over the LA Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Orlando Magic. Friday ends the stay.
On Wednesday, the Mavs had some trouble putting away the Magic, but did, 107-102.
Dirk Nowitzki finished with 25 points and eight rebounds to lead Dallas. Monta Ellis scored 21 points and Devin Harris had 12 off the bench for the Mavericks.
"We've just got to do a better job of closing the game out especially bench guys," said Harris.
Dallas had a 19-point lead with 2:18 left in the third quarter, but it was a battle until the very end.
The Grizzlies had a two-game winning streak halted on Tuesday in a 105-95 loss to the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The Pistons trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, but outscored the Grizzlies 66-39 over the final 24 minutes to overcome the deficit and snap a 10-game losing streak. Reggie Jackson finished with 23 points and 20 assists for Detroit.
"They hit shots, we stopped playing defense and Reggie got going," Memphis forward Zach Randolph said.
Jeff Green netted 21 points and Marc Gasol supplied 17 points, 11 boards and six assists for Memphis, which has dropped three of its last five games.
A Green 3-pointer with 5:09 left staked Memphis to a 90-88 edge before the Pistons pulled away with a 15-2 run. Jackson netted seven points during the surge, which was capped when a Tayshaun Prince jumper that gave Detroit a 101-92 advantage with 1:54 remaining.
The Grizzlies never got within less than eight the rest of the way.
Mike Conley missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right ankle. He didn't travel with the team, so it's likely he will be out against the Mavs on Friday.
The Grizzlies have won two of three meetings this season, including in Dallas on Jan. 27. The squads have split the last eight battles in Big D.