Final: Mavs 97, Grizzlies 88
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Mavs were really able to open up the game in the second quarter, not in terms of the score but with floor geometry. JaVale McGee played center in a 4-out lineup that created all sorts of space for the Mavs guards and playmakers, and the result was 30 Dallas points in the frame, including 4-of-5 shooting in the lane and 10 free throw attempts. The Mavs scored 1.25 points per possession in the quarter.
Despite shooting just 28.0 percent in the third quarter, the Mavs were still able to win the frame, 20-17. Memphis didn’t do itself any favors, shooting just 5 of 17 from the field and 2 of 7 as a team. Dallas won a quarter in which it only scored 0.800 points per possession, which is a pretty impressive feat. And, if you listen to Rick Carlisle’s interviews, you know how important it is to win individual quarters.
It was a pleasure watching Chandler Parsons tonight. The forward looked comfortable and confident, a welcome sign after a prolonged period of self-admitted struggle. Parsons scored 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting and dished out 7 assists, his most in a game as a Maverick. He was magnificent in the pick-and-roll with JaVale McGee and in the open floor, as well. At one point in the fourth quarter, he even delivered a no-look behind-the-back bounce pass to a trailing Dirk, who then swung the ball around to Raymond Felton for a corner three. Carlisle has confessed he doesn’t think it’s going to be a quick, easy recovery process for Parsons, but nights like these are a good sign that the finish line is drawing near.
McGee saw extended playing time in this game. The Mavs used a second-unit lineup featuring McGee at center, Chandler Parsons at small forward, J.J. Barea at point guard, and then shooters at the off-guard and power forward spots. Dallas was able to take advantage of the Grizzlies’ small-ball lineup with Zach Randolph as the anchor. When McGee is on, there’s maybe no center in basketball athletic enough to keep up with him, and the big man was certainly able to win his matchup against Z-Bo. Although Parsons will likely return to the starting lineup at some point this season, it’s quite the luxury to be able to use Parsons, McGee, and Nowitzki all in the second unit. From a strategic standpoint, that’s just unfair.
Heading into this one, the Mavs had been just 2-8 against winning teams this season, despite losing some very close ones (San Antonio, Atlanta). But there are no moral victories in this league, so it was nice to see Dallas earn a win at home against a Memphis team that’s recently been trending upward. The Mavericks came out of the gate a bit slow, falling behind 12-2 in the early going, but a second-half surge blew the doors open. In that way, it was a two-pronged sight for sore eyes: Dallas not only beat a good team, but it won a game after getting off to a rough start. It’s good to see this team has the resilience needed to weather the storm and dig itself out of a hole later on.
We had a Dirk dunk in the second quarter! According to Basketball-Reference, it was Nowitzki’s third dunk of the season. He had only four in all of the 2014-15 campaign, so maybe there’s some bounce left in those legs yet. Coming into the game, the German needed just 50 points to pass Shaquille O’Neal for sixth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, so I’m sure that’s also giving him a little boost of energy. If you haven’t already, be sure to guess the game and quarter Nowitzki will pass the Big Diesel. One winner will be selected at random and will receive a bunch of Mavs swag, including autographed memorabilia and a pair of tickets to an upcoming game.
The Mavs (15-12) play the Toronto Raptors (17-11) Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre. Tip-off is at 6:30 p.m. Central.