Rapid Reaction: Grizzlies 94, Mavs 89
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks played a fine three quarters. Too bad for them they didn't show up until the second.
Memphis jumped out to an 8-0 lead, made it 19-5, 26-6 and finally 29-10 after 12 minutes. The Mavs made two baskets in the first period and shot 13 percent.
Only it didn't have to be that way. The Mavs largely outplayed Memphis the rest of the way and did so despite a gimpy Delonte West, no Ian Mahinmi and with Dirk Nowitzki plodding through one of his shooting performances of the season (5-of-16). Against all that, Vince Carter, Brandan Wright and Shawn Marion nearly managed the impossible.
With 4:15 to go in he third quarter, Carter's step-back 3-pointer from the wing got Dallas to within one point, 63-62, for the first time in the game. But over the next three-plus minutes, Memphis scored seven consecutive points, stopped only by an accidental Rodrigue Beaubois bank-in 3-pointer.
Down five to start the fourth quarter, the Mavs had two catastrophic turnovers on inbounds passes in the first six minutes among their 16 on the night. Down 81-74 with 9:35 to go, Beaubois couldn't get the ball in on the sideline and was whistled for a five-second violation. Then with 6:46 left and coming out of a timeout, Jason Terry's inbounds pass intended for Delonte West got lost in translation and O.J. Mayo scooped it up, got fouled, made two free throws and the Memphis lead swelled back to 10 at 88-78.
Nowitzki added two more critical turnovers in the final two minutes on outlet passes after grabbing a critical rebound reminiscent of the awful pass he throw in the final 20 seconds of overtime Friday night. Having played 36 minutes at the time of the foul after going 42 in Friday's overtime loss, is there any other explanation other than fatigue?
Don't tell the Grizz about that. They were playing their seventh game in nine nights and tore up the Heat in Miami on Friday. Rudy Gay rebounded from a rough night in Dallas on Wednesday to lead all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Zach Randolph had 15 points, including two big free throws with 15.8 seconds to go to extend the lead to five.
Despite Nowitzki's ragged shooting night, he still led Dallas with 17 points and eight rebounds. Wright had 16 points, Carter scored 14, Marion had 12 and Terry had 12.
On the Lamar Odom watch, he played four minutes in the first quarter and never saw the floor again. What does that say about Odom on a team that was shorthanded to begin with?
What it means: The Mavs (31-26) have lost two in a row and three of four since the comeback at Orlando. Although they own the tiebreaker against all the playoff contenders under them, they are not making their lives any easier with nine games left in the regular season and six of them on the road.
Bold play of the game: With 6:57 left in the game and the Mavs trailing 83-78, they couldn't get a rebound. Memphis reset and Gilbert Arenas received a floating pass from the other side of the court that could have been picked off, but Terry had his back to the pass. Arenas hauled it in and sent up his own floater of a 3-pointer that splashed down for one of his three 3-pointers in the game. The deflating shot put Memphis back up by eight and the next possession the Grizz made it 10, 88-78.
Stat of the game: Biggest lead: Grizzlies 20, Mavericks 0.
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