Although the Dallas Mavericks lost for the fourth straight time on their home court Saturday night at American Airlines Center, coach Jason Kidd said “there were a lot of positives” that resulted from the 97-90 defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Those guys that were in uniform (Saturday) fought, and they gave themselves a chance to get back in the game,” Kidd said. “It was just the little things down the stretch that we just couldn’t capitalize on.”
The “little things” like missed shots, missed free throws, failing to corral a key rebound or make a crucial basket was what did in the Mavs, who lost for the seventh time in their last nine games.
“I thought JB (Jalen Brunson) had some great looks, they just didn’t go down for him,” Kidd said. “Tim (Hardaway Jr.) was great coming off the bench. He was aggressive.
“I thought Dorian (Finney-Smith did a great job. Maxi (Kleber) had great looks. They just, for whatever reason, didn’t go down for us.”
Here are our five takeaways from the 97-90 loss to Grizzlies.
NO DONIC, NO PORZINGIS — IT’S A PROBLEM: Realistically speaking, everyone knew it had to be a problem for the Mavs to go into a game without their top two weapons. That would be a problem for any team. Luka Doncic (left ankle soreness) and Kristaps Porzingis (left knee contusion) missed the same game for the first time this season, leaving the Mavs having to turn to other options to search for shots. That search did turn up a lot of open looks that the Mavs invariably just couldn’t knock down.
HARDAWAY UNLEASHED: After scoring just nine points through the first three quarters, someone apparently lit a fire under Tim Hardaway Jr. In the fourth quarter alone, Hardaway scored 20 points and was 5-of-9 from the field and was 4-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc. (The rest of the Mavs scored 12 points in the fourth quarter). As a whole, Hardaway poured in a game-high tying 29 points and also grabbed seven rebounds. In addition, he was 7-of-18 from the floor, 5-of-9 from three-point range and 10-of-14 from the charity stripe.
BANE WAS A PAIN: Ex-TCU standout Desmond Bane was a pain in the Mavs’ side all night. It was as if Bane had a vendetta against a Mavs’ team which didn’t draft him in 2020 after he closely watched them while he was playing his college ball some 40 miles away right down Interstate-30. Bane finished with 11 of his game-high tying 29 points in the fourth quarter. Overall, he was 12-of-20 from the field, 4-of-6 from three-point land and also pulled down nine rebounds.
GRIZZLIE ADAMS WAS DIFFICULT TO CONTAIN: Memphis center Steven Adams used his 6-11, 265-pound frame to take up a lot of space near the basket. The way Adams dominated inside the paint, it was as if he stood three more inches taller and weighed an additional 30 pounds, particularly since the Mavs had difficulties moving him out of the way. Adams collected 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. He also snatched eight offensive rebounds, and his plus/minus total of plus 14 was the highest of the game.
SHOTS WEREN’T FALLING: From a shooting perspective, the Mavs haven’t exactly shot the ball very well since they set a franchise record for field goal shooting (68.7 percent) during Wednesday’s 139-107 blowout victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Since that historic shooting night in New Orleans, the Mavs made just 40.5 percent of their field goal and 29.4 percent of their three-point attempts in the rematch Friday against the Pelicans. And in Saturday loss to the Grizzlies, the Mavs were just 33.7 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from downtown.