Final: Mavs 129, Grizzlies 127
Salah Mejri has made history in three of his last four games. Rewind, for a moment, to the Mavs’ April 1 win against Philadelphia. That night, Mejri became just the second Mavs reserve ever to go for at least 16 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Four nights later, against Memphis, the Tunisian Tower became the first reserve in franchise history to finish with at least 12 points, five boards, five assists, three blocks, and two 3s made. Tonight, against those same Grizzlies, he became the first reserve in team history to record 19 points, nine boards, three assists, and four blocks. Literally no one has ever done what he’s done each of his last two games. Tonight, he was absolutely incredible, especially in overtime.
Mejri has not received consistent playing time this season, and was even cut in February before eventually returning to the team. It’s probably not a stretch to say he could be battling for his NBA career down the homestretch. He’s certainly making an impression, especially by adding the 3-ball to his game. If you cannot root for a player with his attitude, energy level, and story — especially in games that don’t otherwise matter all that much in relation to the standings — then I do not know what to tell you. The Mej forever.
Other players potentially battling for future roles were big contributors. Trey Burke scored 24 points and handed out five assists, and hit some big shots down the stretch. He’s had a terrific last few weeks since re-entering the rotation. Justin Jackson, who’s battling for minutes at the wing, scored 16 points and continued his strong run of late. Jalen Brunson might be battling more for starting minutes than a spot in the rotation, but he is fighting nonetheless. The rookie finished with 12 points and 10 assists in just 24 minutes. Ryan Broekhoff was a team-best +12 in 17 minutes. Daryl Macon scored a career-high 12 points and gobbled up seven boards. It’s very easy to pull for guys who are playing with something to prove, no matter the stakes. This might have been the 80th game of a season that hasn’t gone the way the team wanted it to, but these guys fought until the last second to make the game go the way they wanted.
Tuesday night is going to be incredible. If you have tickets, go and get there early. If you don’t have tickets, watch on TV. If you don’t have cable, purchase cable or go to a friend’s place or a restaurant or a bar or anywhere with cable. If you live outside the U.S., find a way to watch the game. And watch until the very end.
The Mavs (32-48) will play Phoenix at home on Tuesday. It’s going to be special. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.