Monday, March 7, 2011
Does Memphis have Mavs' number?
By Tim MacMahon
DALLAS – If the Mavs meet the Grizzlies in the playoffs, there will be a little Golden State ’07 vibe entering the series.
Memphis has good reason to believe it can beat the Mavs. The Grizzlies did it three times this season, winning the season series over the Mavs for the first time in franchise history.
Jason Terry talked at shootaround making a statement against Memphis. The Mavs failed miserably, blowing a 17-point lead while allowing the Grizzlies to score 41 points in the third quarter.
Dirk Nowitzki, however, dismissed the notion that the Grizzlies might just have the Mavs’ number.
“I don’t think it’s much problems,” Nowitzki said. “The first game here we were kind of tricked away. We turned the ball over twice in the last minute. Then, when we lost there, it was my first game back and I played on one leg.
“But you’ve got to give them credit. They play physical. They’ve got some big boys.”
The Mavs have decent excuses for the last two losses to Memphis. Big man Tyson Chandler didn’t play in either game. Nowitzki, as he mentioned, was far from 100 percent in the Jan. 15 loss and got tossed early in the third quarter after picking up a pair of technicals.
But the Grizzlies beat the Mavs last night without Rudy Gay, their second-leading scorer. Star forward Zach Randolph didn’t play in Memphis’ lone loss to the Mavs this season.
Randolph could be considered a certified Mavs killer even before last night’s game-winner. He’s put up big numbers against the Mavs for years, a trend that he’s continued by averaging 24.3 points and 12.7 rebounds this season.
The Mavs’ centers usually defend Randolph, leaving Dirk to deal with Marc Gasol, a skilled true big man. Gasol has averaged 11.0 points and 9.3 rebounds against the Mavs this season, including a 16-point, 10-rebound performance last night.
“Zach and Gasol are really big handfuls,” Shawn Marion said. “They’re some hard matchups for us.”
Those interior matchups along with Memphis’ swagger against the Mavs are real reason for concern if the Grizzlies draw Dallas in the playoffs.