Final: Grizzlies 110, Mavs 96
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Mavericks scored 1.063 points per possession in the first quarter against Memphis when they at least got a shot off, which is a pretty respectable number. But the club’s 8 turnovers put a damper on the offensive efficiency, resulting in 5 Grizzlies points. The good news is the team’s final few giveaways in the quarter didn’t result in any extra points for the home squad.
The Mavs’ first-half defense was among its best in a half all season. Memphis scored only 46 points on 17-of-46 shooting, including 2-of-10 from beyond the arc. More importantly, Dallas allowed just a single offensive rebound, gathering 27 defensive rebounds in the process. A huge key to defense is preventing your opponents from getting any extra shots, and in that regard Dallas excelled in the first two quarters.
You love to see teams make spirited runs when they fall down big, and that’s exactly what the Mavs were able to do in the fourth quarter. After trailing by as many as 25 points, Dallas brought the margin to as close as 10 points the rest of the way (at one point J.J. Barea was shooting to make it nine) to make the Grizzlies think twice about how easy the win might be. Dallas is too proud and too mature a team to go down easily. The Mavericks made Memphis earn it.
Sometimes the shots just don’t fall, and that was the case in the first three quarters. That doesn’t mean the Mavericks played poorly offensively, however. Dallas was able to create plenty of good shots that just didn’t find the bottom of the net. It’s amazing what happens to perception when the ball goes in — a team looks very sharp. But when those same shots bounce out, we think it looks all out of sorts. Those shots fall on most nights for the Mavericks.
With no Zach Randolph in the starting lineup, the Grizzlies went small with Matt Barnes and Jeff Green in the frontcourt alongside center Marc Gasol. That gave the Grizzlies more of a wide-open offense than normal, but also led to mismatches in Dallas’ favor on the offensive end. Barnes guarded Nowitzki, as he very commonly did earlier in his career with Golden State. The Mavs make it a habit to attack size mismatches almost every time down the floor, and that’s what we saw right from the opening tip in this one. And while Dallas might not always shoot out of the post, setting up a possession in the post could lead to open opportunities elsewhere if the opponent double-teams or over-rotates to compensate.
Devin Harris was inactive tonight so he could get some rest ahead of Wednesday night’s contest in San Antonio. The Mavs have plenty of guards capable of playing minutes in his stead, and tonight Barea and Raymond Felton both saw some extra run. Harris has been a very high-energy player off the bench this season and his active, pacey play was missed in this game. However, that move could easily pay dividends in San Antonio if Harris can make a positive impact against the Spurs.
In an attempt to make up points quickly, Rick Carlisle used the first four-guard lineup I can remember seeing this season. He deployed Barea, Felton, Deron Williams, and Wesley Matthews alongside Zaza Pachulia to create maximum spacing and give Dallas speed all over the floor. The group was looking to generate basically nothing but three-pointers to get back into the game, and it was able to find some pretty good looks. When your back is up against the wall, you look to extremes to make things work. Carlisle is a masterful tactician and it was interesting to see him put that strategy to use.
The Mavs (9-6) play the San Antonio Spurs (11-3) Wednesday at the AT&T Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.