DALLAS -- Wednesday night's battle against the Memphis Grizzlies reached the crossroads at the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter when little-used, 6-foot-6 forward Quincy Pondexter blew by Lamar Odom, stole the rebound and scored as Odom lazily fouled him.
Before Pondexter could finish his fist pump, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle yelled for Shawn Marion off the bench, ending yet another curious night for Odom, who earlier failed to get a pretty, uncontested finger roll above the front of the rim and also airballed a free throw by a half-foot.
Pondexter made his attempt to give the Grizzlies a 73-68 lead.
"Look, it was a bad play," Carlisle said. "Lamar was there and he needed to put a body on him and didn’t do it and so Pondexter gets a three-point play."
Back from a stomach illness that left him sleepless and unable to eat all weekend, and sidelined him for Monday's lifeless loss to the Clippers, Odom acknowledged that his tank was on empty when he flat-out blew the block out, allowing Pondexter to collect his only rebound and only points in his 11 minutes of action.
"There’s times when you’re tired," Odom said, "you make a lazy play and that one play I didn’t box out the kid Pondexter because I was tired, fatigued."
Carlisle, sensing that moment of the game to be the tipping for either team, yanked the 6-10 Odom, who finished with five points and five rebounds in 19 minutes.
"The thing is, potentially that can be such a big momentum play for the other team if you allow it to and our guys just didn’t allow it to," Carlisle said. "We hung in and we just kept fighting and it was the kind of game where you had to keep fighting."
As Pondexter lined up for the free throw, a general sentiment swelled in the Mavs.
The typically mild-mannered Rodrigue Beaubois summed it up.
"Obviously, when you see a perimeter player just come in to get an offensive rebound, that kind of pissed off everyone," Beaubois said. "So for sure, that action got a reaction out of us and I think we did a good job after that. I’m happy the way we competed at the end. We need to play like this more often."
The reaction was a 21-2 blitzing over the next seven minutes as the weary Grizzlies melted under the Mavs' increased defensive pressure. For the Grizz, it was the final quarter of their fifth game in six nights and third in a row. For the Mavs, who trailed by 10 in the second quarter, the 95-85 victory was practically of the must-have variety. They didn't show up two nights earlier against the Clippers to fall to just .500 since Feb. 1 with still multiple teams nipping at their heels at the bottom of the West playoff standings.
Beaubois was as responsible as anyone for the late surge, playing the entire fourth quarter and scoring four of his eight points, two on an assertive drive with 2:33 to go, grabbing both of his rebounds and dishing an assist to Dirk Nowitzki for a 20-foot jumper that put Dallas up 80-75 with 5:58 to go.
Beaubois' aggression came through at the other end, too, with a steal and two blocks. After Marion cut the Memphis lead to 73-72, Beaubois rose up and blocked Mike Conley's 3-point attempt at the point of release and 37 seconds later the Mavs had a 74-73 lead.
Marion scored 12 of his 16 points in the final quarter, taking advantage of fastbreaks for transition dunks and layups. Dirk Nowitzki had six of his 23 in the fourth as he matched Beaubois and Jason Terry (five points in the fourth, including his lone 3-pointer) in playing the entire fourth frame.
Odom watched the final 10 minutes from the bench.
"I’m about winning. That’s the way it is," Odom said. "This a deep team. Right now it’s about finding a way to help the team and just win games."
Perhaps in a most inadvertent way, Odom did just that.