- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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MEMPHIS – What happened to the dominant Dirk Nowitzki from the last two games? He disappeared Wednesday night.
Nowitzki failed to make a field goal in the second half of the Mavs’ loss to the Grizzlies. His only points after halftime came on a pair of too-little, too-late free throws with 24.7 seconds remaining.
After flashing his Hall of Fame form over the previous few days, the big German was just a guy against the Grizzlies, finishing with 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting and only four rebounds. That’s a far cry from the 30 points and 13 rebounds he had against the Lakers and the 21 points and 20 rebounds he put up against the Bucks.
Nowitzki’s numbers from the second half: two points on 0-of-5 shooting from the floor, two rebounds and one turnover.
“It’s just one of those nights,” Nowitzki said. “If you don’t have a rhythm, you can have an ugly game. And they did a good job taking us out of our game. Everything was contested the second half. It was nothing easy.”
After getting whatever they wanted during a 38-point first quarter, when Nowitzki has six points on 3-of-4 shooting, the Mavs’ offense got stagnant and sloppy. The Dallas guards couldn’t get into the guts of the Grizzlies’ defense to make plays, and Nowitzki wasn’t able to create on his own.
“The shots that he did get weren’t high-quality shots,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And there were one or two where I thought he could have gotten the whistle.”
Nowitzki didn’t get the whistle until the Grizzlies had put the game away. He didn’t get anything to go his way after halftime.
A few more notes from the Mavs’ meltdown:
1. Mayo’s unhappy homecoming: Fans at the FedExForum have given O.J. Mayo mostly warm welcomes, but that’s about all that’s gone well for him during his returns to Memphis.
Mayo, who played his first four seasons for the Grizzlies before signing with the Mavs this summer, has averaged 10.5 points on 33.3 percent shooting and five turnovers during two losses as a Memphis visitor.
“That’s the way it goes, man,” said Mayo, who bought 18 tickets for friends and family this trip, including his Memphis resident mother. “You want to play good. You want to play ‘em all good. You play bad, you’ve got to take a quick look at it and move on to the next game.”
2. Long shot to shave: Nowitzki’s beard keeps getting longer. So doe his odds of shaving this season.
Nowitzki was one of several Mavs to agree not to shave until they get back to .500. They’re seven games under after three consecutive losses, just as far away from .500 as they were when they originally made the pact.
Nowitzki admits that his long, scraggly beard is really beginning to bother him.
“And it obviously ain’t going anywhere for a while now,” he said.
3. Kaman’s start: Chris Kaman came out strong in his first start since Jan. 20, putting up six points, three rebounds and a block in seven first-quarter minutes, fresh off a DNP-CD.
Suffice to say Kaman didn’t quite make that kind of impact the rest of the game. He finished with six points, four rebounds and one block in 22 minutes.
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