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Sunday, March 6, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Grizz 104, Mavs 103

By Tim MacMahon


How it happened: It took an amazing 18-foot jumper by Zach Randolph to beat the Mavericks.

It took an absolutely awful defensive quarter to give the Grizzlies a chance.

A 17-point halftime lead evaporated when the Mavs suddenly forgot how to get a stop, allowing the Grizzlies to take the lead. Memphis shot 72 percent from the floor while racking up 41 points in the third quarter, the most by a Mavs opponent in a quarter all season

That set the stage for the Mavs to do what they do better than any other team in the NBA: win a close game. But the Mavs, who are now 28-10 in games decided by fewer than three points the last three seasons, couldn’t finish the job against the Grizzlies.

Dirk Nowitzki drilled a 15-foot jumper over Shane Battier to give the Mavs a one-point lead with 3.1 seconds remaining. Randolph responded by knocking down an even more difficult shot, an 18-footer with 7-footer Brendan Haywood in his face.

Just like that, the Mavs’ eight-game winning streak is history.

What it means: Memphis improved its odds of meeting the Mavs in the first round of the playoffs by winning the season series over Dallas for the first time in the Grizzlies’ history. The Mavs lost for only the second time in the last 20 games, with both L’s coming on contested jumpers in the final minutes after blowing double-digit leads. The Mavs missed an opportunity to make up a game on the Spurs in the Western Conference standings. They're only a game up on the Lakers for the second seed now.

Play of the game: Randolph, a Mavs killer, capped a 27-point performance with the rainbow jumper. He hit 10-of-13 shots from the floor and scored 21 in the second half.

Stat of the night: The Mavs are 20-3 when at least two of their players score 20-plus points. Big nights from Jason Terry (26) and Nowitzki (23) weren’t enough.