DALLAS -- Brendan Haywood had a season-high six blocks, but he couldn’t get a hand on the shot that mattered most.
Zach Randolph knocked down a high-arching 18-footer in the final second despite Haywood’s hand in his face to give the Grizzlies the victory, snapping the Mavs’ eight-game winning streak. Haywood doesn’t believe he could have done anything to better defend the shot.
“I got up as high as I could and cut off his left hand, but that’s what Zach does,” Haywood said. “He makes tough shots. He’s made a career out of that.”
After Dirk Nowitzki drilled a 15-footer to give the Mavs a one-point lead with 3.1 seconds remaining, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins drew up a play to get Randolph the ball near the right corner with 3.1 seconds remaining. The power forward put the ball on the floor once before pulling up for the game-winner.
“If I wouldn’t have put the ball on the floor, he probably would have blocked it,” said Randolph, who was 10-of-13 from the floor and scored 21 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. “I had to put it on the floor and get some rhythm.”
The Mavs’ defense on the final possession wasn’t the problem. Their defense for the third quarter was what stuck in coach Rick Carlisle’s craw.
That’s when the Mavs allowed a 17-point halftime lead to evaporate. They gave up 41 points on 18-of-25 shooting in the third quarter, their worst defensive frame of the season.
“The magnifying glass goes on the last play, but it shouldn’t,” Carlisle said. “It should go on the third quarter.”