Mavericks vs. Grizzlies
Dirk led the team with 21 points and Justin Anderson set a new career-high with 19 points as the Mavs rolled past the Grizz, 103-93.
Final: Mavs 103, Grizzlies 93
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Despite having only 53 points with 6:43 left in the third quarter, the Mavericks were scoring relatively efficiently at 1.02 points per possession, which is right in line with the league average. Both of these teams have played at an extremely slow pace lately, which cuts down on the number of possible possessions. However, both teams were able to take advantage of the possessions they did have, however few there were.
The Mavs have never lost a game when Justin Anderson has started. They are now 7-0 in those contests. He also scored a career-high 19 points in this game and grabbed eight rebounds. Not a bad night for the rookie.
This was another excellent defensive showing for the Mavericks, although the 90-or-less streak officially came to an end after five games. This is the right time to be playing shutdown defense: right in the middle of the playoff race, in a stretch of games against playoff opponents, and even down two starters (three if you count the injured J.J. Barea). The Mavs slogged through a slow, physical game through three quarters before finally blowing the doors off in the fourth, putting together one of their best offensive frames during the team’s six-game winning streak. The Mavs’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now just 1.
After battling through a bit of a shooting slump, Dirk Nowitzki broke out in this game. The German scored 21 points to lead all Mavericks, taking charge of the offense in a game his team desperately needed him to. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the sixth all-time leading scorer broke out. His mentor and coach Holger Geschwindner is in town, and he’s notorious for getting Dirk back on track almost right away. The Mavs will need Nowitzki to continue in his efficient ways down the stretch, as Dallas inches closer to clinching a playoff spot.
J.J. Barea, who has been playing the best basketball of his career in the last week or so, exited the game in the first quarter with a right groin strain and was ruled questionable to return. He re-entered the game in the second quarter before ultimately leaving again in the same frame. In his absence, both Raymond Felton and Devin Harris assumed his minutes at the 1, leaving only Wesley Matthews and Justin Anderson as the only other healthy wings on the roster. Obviously the hope is to keep as many players as healthy as possible, but the Mavericks were still able to mount a big 13-0 run bridging the first and second frames to take the lead. Barea finished the game with five points and only one assist. Felton, meanwhile, scored eight and dished out a team-high eight dimes, generating much-needed ball movement for the Mavs.
Harris scored nine straight points for the Mavs to close the third quarter, including draining two 3-pointers and converting an and-one play. (He also scored the team’s first four points in the fourth.) Harris has played off-guard for most of the last two seasons, but in this game due to Barea’s absence he played most of his minutes at point guard, meaning he was responsible for establishing the tempo and running the offense. The electric guard is most effective in the open floor, and his pace-pushing in the second half really benefited the Mavericks. In my opinion, he’s one of the more dynamic backup guards in the NBA.
The Mavs (41-38) play the Los Angeles Clippers (50-28) Sunday at the Staples Center. Tip-off is at 2:30 p.m. Central.