Highlights: Mavs vs. Grizzlies
Check out all the top plays from Wednesday's 100-93 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
MEMPHIS — Traveling to Memphis without a bevy of their top contributors for the regular-season finale, the Dallas Mavericks found themselves severely shorthanded Wednesday night against a Southwest Division rival.
Mavs vs. Grizzlies
“We had a strategy in the last five or six games. We were going to play our veterans early, finish with the younger guys and let the chips fall where they may. Tonight, I really like the way the guys played,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
Using a starting lineup of undrafted rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell, Argentine swingman Nicolas Brussino, first-year forward Dorian Finney-Smith, 25-year-old big man Dwight Powell and center Nerlens Noel, the Mavericks tried to come out of the gate fast with their young contributors. But after a midrange jumper by Noel to open the scoring, the Mavs would quickly be playing from behind in the first quarter.
A pair of three-pointers by Powell would then keep the Mavs afloat in the period. However, after seeing new addition DeAndre Liggins debut with the team following his addition via waivers on Tuesday, the Mavericks trailed 27-22 entering the second stanza.
With Grizzlies swingman Tony Allen ruled out the remainder of the way due to a right lower leg injury, the Mavericks tried to surge in front on the scoreboard. Veteran reserve guard Devin Harris did his part to help with the comeback attempt, taking over the Mavs’ scoring duties in the second quarter.
But with Harris on the bench, the Grizzlies (43-39) opened up a 38-29 lead behind point guard Mike Conley to force a timeout by Carlisle with 7:52 left in the half. A pair of alley-oop connections between Harris and Noel then sparked the Mavericks back into the game, igniting an 8-0 Dallas run after the visiting team trailed by as many as 10. However, even after Harris tallied 12 points and five assists in just 13 minutes of action, the Mavs entered the halftime intermission in a 55-46 hole.
Led by Conley’s 15 first-half points on 5-of-9 shooting, the Grizzlies’ 47.6 percent from the field as a team bettered the Mavericks’ 40 percent. The Grizzlies also held a 23-18 rebounding edge, forcing six Dallas turnovers through the first two quarters.
“I think it was just a great opportunity for all of us to kind of get on the court together and kind of go through the growing pains together, and figure each other’s games out,” rookie forward Jarrod Uthoff said of the first half.
Falling behind by double digits early in the second half, the Mavericks would see matters get worse before they got better as the third period got underway. The Mavs would immediately respond with a three-pointer by Brussino to stay within striking range, however, cutting the deficit to 57-51 after Ferrell’s alley-oop lob pass to Noel with 9:47 left in the quarter.
Memphis then began to regain control later in the third, charging to another double-digit lead. But after Tunisian center Salah Mejri’s first career three-pointer, the Mavericks continued to have life in the period. The Mavs then methodically worked a 12-point deficit down to 74-70 in Memphis’ favor entering the fourth.
Charging to within two after a jumper by second-round draft pick A.J. Hammons, the Mavericks tried to surge in front later in the final quarter. Uthoff’s cutting slam then brought the Mavs even on the scoreboard, tying the game at 78-all with 8:08 left to play. Hammons slid back into the scoring a short time later with his third jumper of the quarter to lift the Mavericks to an 80-78 edge. Finney-Smith took matters from there, swishing a three from the wing to put the Mavs up 87-82 and forcing a Memphis timeout with 5:29 remaining.
The lead wasn’t safe, though, after Wade Baldwin IV’s 2-for-2 trip to the foul line sliced Dallas’ edge to just one with 4:25 left to play. Not to be outdone, Hammons extended the lead to five with two free throws of his own as just 3:39 remained. The Dallas defense did the rest with a string of stops. And after Brussino’s dagger three put the Mavs up 97-90 with 1:13 left to play, the visiting team finished off the win with clutch strokes at the foul line.
Scoring 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting off the bench, Harris also dished out eight assists to lead the Mavericks to the win. Brussino added 15 points of his own, grabbing seven rebounds to boot. Powell pitched in 12 points in the first unit, and Uthoff scored 11 points in a reserve role. Meanwhile, Noel finished with 10 points and seven boards as a starter.
“I definitely thought it went well,” Noel proclaimed. “The whole team brought it. You know, the younger guys did a great job of just playing within a flow and getting good shots. We played solid defense as well.”
“I think it’s a morale booster, especially with all these young guys,” Uthoff added. “This is the beginning, for a lot of us, of our careers. It’s always nice to get a win with us playing.”
Conley and Zach Randolph scored 15 points apiece to lead four Grizzlies in double figures. But the Mavericks outshot the Grizzlies for the game, 44 percent to 39.3 percent, overcoming a 48-37 rebounding disadvantage by forcing 15 Memphis turnovers.
“It’s a game of execution,” Carlisle concluded. “We kept turnovers down, and we rebounded better in the second half. You know, our depth guys closed the game well. I’m happy for them. They’ve been in a lot of these late-game situations in the last week and a half, and it hasn’t gone so well. They earned it tonight.”
|N. Brussino, F||36||4-8||4-8||3-3||2||6||8||2||2||0||3||2||5||15|
|D. Powell, F||34||2-11||2-9||6-6||1||2||3||0||1||0||2||4||-7||12|
|N. Noel, C||22||4-8||0-0||2-2||1||6||7||0||1||1||2||0||-11||10|
|D. Finney-Smith, G||30||3-9||1-5||0-0||0||5||5||5||1||0||1||2||2||7|
|Y. Ferrell, G||28||2-9||1-4||2-3||0||1||1||5||1||1||2||3||-5||7|
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|V. Carter, F||22||1-4||1-4||2-2||0||2||2||4||0||0||1||2||7||5|
|J. Green, F||21||1-2||1-2||0-0||0||5||5||1||0||0||0||2||-1||3|
|M. Gasol, C||24||5-13||1-2||2-2||0||8||8||4||0||2||2||1||9||13|
|T. Allen, G||5||2-4||0-0||0-0||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||6||4|
|M. Conley, G||17||5-9||2-5||3-4||0||2||2||2||1||0||0||0||11||15|
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Postgame: Nerlens Noel
Mavs C Nerlens Noel dishes on Wednesday's win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Postgame: Jarrod Uthoff
Mavs F Jarrod Uthoff comments on Wednesday's win over the Grizzlies.
Noel Skies Up
Yogi Ferrell drives and throws it up for Nerlens Noel to catch and finish with the highlight slam.
Postgame: Rick Carlisle
Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on Wednesday's win over the Grizzlies.
Strong Drive By Harris
Devin Harris drives while tightly contested and puts it off the glass for two.
MEMPHIS — Traveling to Memphis minus their undisrupted leader after seeing 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki play his final game of the season Tuesday night at home against Denver, the Dallas Mavericks will now attempt to finish the 2016-17 campaign strong with a victory on the road.
Scoring a team-high 21 points on 9-of-20 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds and recording three blocks during Tuesday night’s 109-91 loss in the home finale, Nowitzki wasn’t enough to lead his team to a victory. However, the 7-footer brought his injury-plagued ’16-17 season to a close on a high note after missing a stretch of games earlier in the schedule due to a strained right Achilles. And although he won’t be available for the Mavericks (32-49) on the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday in Memphis, Nowitzki vows to return stronger and ready for his 20th season next year.
“I feel the best I have all year, moving-wise,” Nowitzki proclaimed. “The first few months were tough with injuries and trying to catch up during the season. It was tough at times and frustrating at times. I tried to keep plugging and trying to do work on the side. I’m trying to get back to being efficient and where I can help these guys win some games. I’m a little disappointed now, obviously, that the season is over and I feel the best I have all year. But that’s how it goes. Hopefully I have a big summer, work out and stay ready, and next year not have a freak injury where I will be out even more and stay in good shape.”
Nowitzki finished the season averaging 14.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in 54 games, shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 37.8 percent beyond the three-point arc. The Mavericks will now attempt to make up for his production Wednesday in the season finale against the Southwest Division rival Grizzlies (43-38).
The seventh-seeded Grizzlies seized the first meeting between the teams with an 80-64 victory in Dallas on Nov. 18. The Mavs then returned the favor with a 104-100 win at home on March 3 to even the season series. However, the Grizzlies moved to 2-1 in the series with a 99-90 win at home on March 31. And despite expecting the team’s young contributors to play the bulk of the minutes Wednesday night, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle says his team will continue to fight in the final matchup of the season.
“You know, all year these guys have battled,” Carlisle explained. “They’ve battled to get better, and they’ve battled through difficult situations where they get in the game and all of a sudden they get two quick fouls. You just learn things very quickly and very painfully in the NBA. That’s just the way it is, but there’s a lot of potential here. … There’s a lot of good stuff going on, but nobody likes losing this many games.”
Note: The Mavericks will now conclude the regular season Wednesday night in Memphis against the Southwest Division rival Grizzlies. Memphis leads the season series 2-1. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing locally on TXA 21 and 103.3 FM ESPN. That game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.
Dirk Nowitzki (rest) — out
Seth Curry (left shoulder injury) — out