MEMPHIS – Shortly after the Dallas Mavericks defeated the two-time defending world champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday night at American Airlines Center, guard/forward Dorian Finney-Smith expressed the sentiments of his teammates regarding a win that garnered a lot of attention around the NBA.
After all, it was the fourth win in a row for the Mavs. And it came against a very formidable opponent.
But. . .
“It feels good, but I want to win the next one,” Finney-Smith said. “It’ll feel so much better if we’re on a five-game winning streak.”
The opportunity for the Mavs (7-8) to extend their winning streak to five games in a row will come Monday at 7 p.m. CT when they face the Memphis Grizzlies (10-5) at FedEx Forum. But before taking on the Grizzlies, the Mavs couldn’t help but reflect back on the stunning 112-109 victory over the Warriors.
It was a game that saw the Mavs overcome an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter and chase down the team many totally expect to three-peat as NBA champions this season.
“They’re a great team, so we knew it was going to take a full game,” Finney-Smith said. “We knew they were going to make a run, we knew it was going to be a tough game, so I just feel like we did a good job of sticking together whenever they made their run.
“It was a great team win. Everybody helped each other on defense, we trust each other on defense and I feel like that’s why we got the win.”
Center DeAndre Jordan acknowledged that a huge win like the one the Mavs collected over the Warriors could be the start of something wonderful.
“We’ve got to build off of it, though,” Jordan said. “We can’t get too high, can’t get too low.”
Jordan has noticed how the Mavs have grown since starting the season with a dismal 2-7 record. And he believes there’s plenty more room for some additional growth, starting with Monday’s game against the Southwest Division-leading Grizzlies.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who are mentally tough and have been in this league for a long time,” Jordan said. “We’ve got some young guys who are capable of being great players, so we just got to stick together like a band of brothers and we can’t let stuff get to us.
“We’ve got to play.”
More than anything, Jordan knows the Mavs can’t afford to look at what they’ve accomplished lately and think they’ve arrived. He knows they’ve won five of their last six games, but added that they must continue to be resilient.
“Yes, it was a great win (over the Warriors) for our team and for this organization, but we’ve got to build off of this,” Jordan said. “We dropped some games early – we’ve got to try to get those back — and we just got to figure out a way to win every night.
“Some games are going to be ugly. We just got to find a way to just grind it out. We just got to bottle it.”
The Mavs especially have to bottle what they did to the Warriors in the early going when Dallas took a 26-22 lead into the second quarter. Losing the first quarter, the Mavs know, come with catastrophic consequences.
“The first group did a good job of getting a lead, they made their run back, but I feel like we stuck together as a team,” Finney-Smith said. “We’re just going to keep playing defense and let our defense start our offense.
“When we get stops we get out in transition and have a little fun.”
And for the Mavs, the fun will continue if they find a way to grind out a win over the Grizzlies.