Dallas Mavericks: Grizzlies

Wild West: Mavs-Thunder series nearly set?

April, 26, 2012

We take a look at the games that impact the West playoff picture each morning for the rest of the regular season.

Mavs' spot in the standings: The Mavericks are closing in on a first-round series with the No. 2-seed Oklahoma City Thunder in what would be a rematch of last year's Western Conference finals. A Dallas loss at Atlanta on Thursday or a Denver win at Minnesota (or if both lose), then the series is set. If the Mavs win and the Nuggets lose, Dallas will finish with the sixth seed and take on the Lakers.

Nuggets 106, Thunder 101: Denver takes the upper hand for the No. 6 seed and a first-round date with the Lakers, while the Thunder are thrilled that James Harden, the leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate, was medically cleared Wednesday for the start of the playoffs after sustaining a concussion Sunday.

Knicks 99, Clippers 93: Chris Paul sat out with a mild groin strain and now the Clippers need the Grizzlies to lose at home today to the Magic to secure home-court advantage in their first-round series with Memphis.

Mavs at Hawks
Nuggets at Timberwolves
Magic at Grizzlies

If the playoffs started today: Mavs vs. Thunder

Wild West: Mavs-Thunder rematch grows closer

April, 24, 2012
We take a look at the games that impact the West playoff picture each morning for the rest of the regular season.

Mavs' spot in the standings: Idle Dallas can check the San Antonio Spurs off its list of potential first-round playoff foes. The Spurs walloped Portland to clinch the No. 1 seed, which also locked the Oklahoma City Thunder into the No. 2 seed. If the Mavs, who don't play until Thursday, stay at No. 7, they will face the Thunder with Game 1 at OKC this weekend. A move up to No. 6 likely draws the Lakers, with the Clippers still in the hunt for the No. 3 seed.

Spurs 124, Trail Blazers 89: San Antonio clinched the No. 1 seed in winning its eighth consecutive game, all by double-digit margins.

Grizzlies 109, Cavaliers 101: Six Grizzlies scored in double figures as they kept hope alive for the No. 4 seed and homecourt advantage.

Clippers at Hawks
Kings at Thunder
Suns at Jazz

If the playoffs started today: Mavs vs. Thunder
We take a look at the games that impact the West playoff picture each morning for the rest of the regular season.

Mavs' spot in the standings: The Mavs took a one game lead over the idle Denver Nuggets for the No. 6 seed. Both teams are in action tonight. Dallas plays at Chicago in a game the Bulls need to maintain their lead for the No. 1 seed in the East, and the Nuggets play at the Phoenix Suns, who are clinging to the No. 8 seed.

Mavs 104, Warriors 94: Vince Carter continues to heat up with 19 points as the Mavs won their final home game to finish 23-10 at home and 26-22 against Western Conference foes.

Spurs 121, Lakers 97: San Antonio makes a loud statement with a second consecutive win over the Lakers, this one coming in Kobe Bryant's return from a shin injury. Spurs hold onto the No. 1 seed.

Grizzlies 85, Bobcats 80: Memphis trailed by 10 at the end of the third quarter, but rallied to beat Charlotte, which has lost 19 in a row. The Grizzlies still have a shot at the No. 4 seed and homecourt in the first round, likely against the Clippers.

Thunder 103, Kings 92: Kevin Durant had 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists as the Thunder kept the heat on the Spurs for the top spot.

Mavs at Bulls
Nuggets at Suns
Trail Blazers at Grizzlies
Warriors at Rockets
Magic at Jazz

If the playoffs started today: Mavs vs. Lakers

Wild West: Mavs' playoff spot virtually secured

April, 15, 2012
We take a look at the games that impact the West playoff picture each morning for the rest of the regular season.

Mavs' spot in the standings: With Utah losing at Memphis and Phoenix getting blasted at San Antonio, any fears of the Mavs becoming the first defending champ since the dismantled 1999 Chicago Bulls to sit out the postseason are nearly laid to rest. It would take a major meltdown in the final six games. It is also becoming increasingly likely that Dallas will not finish higher than No. 6.

Clippers 112, Warriors 104: The Clips stays on the heels of their Staples Center co-tenant for the No. 3 seed as Chris Paul goes off for 28 points and 13 assists.

Thunder 115, Timberwolves 110: OKC gets a late scare, but Kevin Durant scored 43 points and Russell Westbrook had 35 to keep a grip on the No. 1 seed.

Grizzlies 103, Jazz 98: Four Grizzlies score at least 17 points as they keep the pressure on the Clippers for the No. 4 seed and homecourt advantage in the first round.

Spurs 105, Suns 91: San Antonio jumped all over the tired Suns and Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry made the call to play Steve Nash less than six minutes.

Mavs at Lakers
Grizzlies at Hornets
Rockets at Nuggets

If the playoffs started today: Mavs vs. Lakers

Have Rick Carlisle, Mavs given up on Lamar Odom?

April, 8, 2012

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Dallas Mavericks loved to brag on their team concept a year ago. They took the league by storm and the country latched on as they devoured the Lakers, Thunder and then the big, bad Heat.

Everyone was counted upon, everyone was needed, everyone showed up.

Saturday's box score shows why this team is different and limping toward the playoffs, if they even make it. Check the standings and the postseason is far from guaranteed. In a crucial game at Memphis, Dallas' rotation shrunk to a season-low. Yes, Jason Kidd (strained right groin) and Ian Mahinmi (fatherhood) weren't around for this one, but through this injury-marred season, when is the last time just seven Mavs played more than 20 minutes?

The chemistry that banded last season's team has never quite materialized with this one. Maybe when Kidd returns -- perhaps next week -- the offense will suddenly flow like $90,000-a-bottle bubbly, but that hasn't really been the case all season. Maybe one good win, and the next chance for that is Tuesday against Sacramento, is all this team needs for a jump start. Yet, every good game only seems to yield a clunker.

Saturday's 94-89 loss was a combination of both. Dallas, now 31-26, came out inexcusably lethargic and got routed in the opening quarter, trailing 26-6 after 11 minutes and 29-10 at the buzzer. After making 2-of-15 baskets in the first quarter, Dallas regrouped and shot 55.2 percent the rest of the way, outrebounded Memphis and limited the Grizzlies to 38.8 percent shooting for the game -- numbers that typically win games.

Delonte West played 25 hard minutes on a bum left ankle and with a still-fragile, taped-up finger. Shawn Marion pulled down another double-double. Jason Terry played aggressively, collecting eight assists and 12 points. Brandan Wright went for 16 and six in 36 minutes. Dirk Nowitzki admittedly had one of his poorer games of the season, but he took a pounding for 36 minutes as Dallas desperately scraped to get back in a game they coughed away early.

"We had a lot of fighters out there tonight," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "Going down the stretch here, that’s what it’s going to be about."

The Mavs just didn't have enough of them Saturday. And it appears the worst-kept secret of the season is now becoming painfully obvious. Any hope that Lamar Odom, who some consider to be a mandatory X-factor along with Rodrigue Beaubois (who continues to be madly inconsistent) for postseason success -- was suddenly going to flip the switch, is all but lost.

This night would have been the perfect chance for him to gain respect among his teammates, even at this late date, to help them grind out a needed victory. Yet his coach couldn't even stomach more than the four minutes Odom spent on the floor in the first quarter, low-lighted by an awkward layup attempt that didn't have a prayer and an offensive foul.

He played 11 minutes in Friday's embarrassing loss. That was supposed to be the game that Odom would begin to gain momentum. At least that was the spin Carlisle put on it after Wednesday's big comeback win over the Grizzlies when Odom was so fatigued that he failed to box out his man early in the fourth quarter and was benched for the rest of the night.

Coincidentally, Dallas then went on a 21-2 run to take charge of that game.

The silence regarding Odom's place on this team after this Grizzlies' loss, the Mavs' third in four games and second in a row, said all that needed to be said.

Carlisle, asked if there remains hope that Odom can provide anything for the team, said in a distant voice: "No Lamar questions tonight."

Nowitzki answered questions about the loss for four minutes, critical of his missed 3-pointer with a couple minutes to go and his two late turnovers. Then came the question about Odom, who had just finished getting dressed and walked out of the locker room to the team bus.

"I'm done talking about that," Nowitzki said as he turned away and ended the interview.

Even Odom was rendered speechless, a rarity for the 6-foot-10 forward. Regarding all his pine time Saturday, he tried to find words, then couldn't and finally shrugged his shoulders.

Asked if he's concerned that his role, or any role, is shrinking to nothingness, he said: "(Friday) night I didn’t play a lot, tonight same thing. At least there’s some consistency in that."

Odom tried to find an ounce of humor in the sad situation, but the reality is it appears Carlisle is done with the spin, done with the positive reinforcement and maybe even done putting Odom on the floor with nine games left that are so vital to the defending champs' postseason hopes in this strange, strange season.

"I can’t read it," Odom said of the immediate future. "It is what it is. What can I do? Coach is always right."

There was plenty of blame to go around for Saturday's loss. In the end, the Mavs did show pride, unwilling to go down with a whimper. Their fighters fought. They just didn't have enough.

"We've all got to play well, I think that’s obvious if we want to do something to make the playoffs or do some damage in the playoffs," Nowitzki said. "We all have to play at a high level. That’s what we did last year, we picked up some momentum, had everybody play well, defense and rebound. On offense, everybody shared the ball and played well together.

"That’s the only way we’re going to be able to do it this year. It’s not going to be one guy, it’s not going to be two guys. If we want to win, ultimately we’ve go to do it together and have everyone play at a high level. That’s the only way."

Horrid shooting early, turnovers late doom Mavs

April, 7, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It took 11 minutes for the Dallas Mavericks to fall behind by 20 points.

"It happens when one team is struggling, the other team made shots, it can go quick," Dirk Nowitzki said. "We were down 20 in a heartbeat. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing to be down 20 early and you still have a lot of time to fight back and that’s what we did. I’m proud of the guys how we battled, but it wasn’t enough."

In a game even the players billed as critical coming in, how could the Mavs cough up such a terrible first quarter, going 2-of-15 from the field, against a team playing its seventh game in nine nights?

"Oh man, it’s just frustrating in all aspects," Shawn Marion said. "I thought we were playing good defense at first, it’s just we couldn’t hit no shots. It seemed like everything that could go wrong went wrong."

Memphis jumped out to an 8-0 lead and built a 19-5 lead despite shooting just 36.8 percent to that point. Marion's putback was Dallas' lone field goal among its first 12 shots. With one minute left in the quarter, Memphis led 26-6 and ended it up, 29-10.

It was just two quarters earlier, the nightmarish third in Friday's embarrassing collapse against the Trail Blazers, that the Mavs were outscored 30-10.

"The first quarter we had our share of good shots; didn’t go down," coach Rick Carlisle said. "At one point we were shooting 10 percent. Guys kept battling, we defended and rebounded the whole game. We actually outrebounded these guys again, which is saying something."

But, as Carlisle added, a loss is a loss.

And the Mavs have lost three of four since the comeback win against the Orlando Magic. In fact, in both of their wins over these last five games, Dallas had to rally from double-digit deficits. The last two nights, horrific turnovers killed them. The Mavs had six in each the first and fourth quarters.

In the fourth, Rodrigue Beaubois couldn't inbound the ball on the sideline and got hit with a five-second violation. Jason Terry threw away an inbounds pass from nearly the same spot when he and Delonte West crossed signals.

In a one-minute span just as the game got below the two-minute mark with Memphis leading, 92-87, Nowitzki got a defensive rebound and threw away the outlet pass. He missed a 10-foot jumper, then grabbed another defensive rebound and threw that one away to Mike Conley with 55.5 seconds to go. It was his third outlet pass that got away going back to Friday's final 20 seconds of overtime.

"I had a 3 at the top of the key to cut it to two with like three minutes to go. That would have been a nice shot," said Nowitzki, who finished 5-of-16 with 17 points and with three of the team's 17 turnovers. "We still had some chances. Turnovers are hurting us lately. I had two right there in the last minutes.

"That’s tough."

Jason Terry wants to boost his stat line

April, 6, 2012
DALLAS -- Mavericks sixth man Jason Terry has posted at least 15 points, four rebounds and three assists in three consecutive games.

"That's my average," Terry said following Friday's morning shootaround in preparation for tonight's game against the Portland Trail Blazers. "I'd like to do 20-5-3 for three games in a row, see if I can get that done. I know we've got a great chance to win if I do that. Just got to be consistent."

Terry hasn't put up 20-5-3 this season. In fact, Terry's scoring 20 points or more doesn't necessarily correlate to winning games. The Mavs are just 5-4 in those games.

Perhaps he knows of a formula that is more important to posting W's.

"More importantly for us tonight is coming out and guarding," Terry said. "When we get out and guard and get after it and don't allow teams to get comfortable in our building, we're pretty damn good."

The Mavs guarded in the second half of Wednesday's 95-85 win against Memphis, holding the Grizzlies to 34 points -- 17 in each quarter. Yet in both games of this three-game homestand, Dallas has not defended well in the first half. On Monday versus the Clippers, the Mavs trailed 47-33 at halftime and proceeded to lose the game 94-75.

Rapid Reaction: Grizzlies 96, Mavs 85

February, 29, 2012
Recap | Box score | Shot chart | Photos

MEMPHIS -- How it happened: Dirk Nowitzki left the game 51 seconds into the second quarter and it was a scramble the rest of the way for the Mavericks.

A small lineup, fueled by Rodrigue Beaubois -- who scored 12 of his 16 points in the quarter -- made 13-of-17 field goals in the quarter and erased a 27-19 deficit when Nowitzki exited to take a 49-47 lead into halftime. With Nowitzki still trying to work out his back into the third quarter, Memphis went up 67-57 before another Mavs charge, spurred by the outside shooting of Yi Jianlian and the inside activity of Brandan Wright, got Dallas to within 69-67.

Had the Mavs, whose depth is being severely tested, somehow found a way to persevere, this would have gone down as one of those inspirational wins they could have taken into an off day in New Orleans on Thursday. Shortly after the game, Nowitzki said he hurt his back taking a jumper during warmups and it tightened up. He said his intention is to play Friday at New Orleans.

Instead, another quick Memphis spurt to end the third followed by a 6-0 start to the fourth put the Grizzlies up 80-67, capped by a pretty halfcourt alley-oop pass from O.J. Mayo to Rudy Gay.

Nowitzki, the Mavs' leading scorer at nearly 20 points a game, had just one point when he left. With Lamar Odom still away from the team for personal reasons, the Mavs were severely depleted at power forward, which was mostly manned by Shawn Marion, Jianlian and Brian Cardinal.

Dallas desperately needed one of those bedazzling performances from Beaubois or lights-out shooting from Terry, but they didn't get it. Beaubois looked to be on that track with his aggressive second quarter, but he finished just 7-of-16 from the floor -- 0-of-4 on 3s -- in 37 minutes. Terry had a team-high 18 points, but was just 2-of-8 from 3-point range. He heated up late, hoping for an improbable comeback, but it was too little.

The Mavs, who had 18 turnovers, were just 4-of-23 from beyond the arc.

For a third consecutive game, the Mavs were torched by the opposing center. All-Star Marc Gasol followed Andrew Bynum and Brook Lopez with 22 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots. Mike Conley had 18 points and eight assists and Gay finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.

What it means: Dallas (21-15) tied its season-long losing skid for a second time with a third consecutive loss. It's the Mavs' fourth defeat in five games, equaling their worst stretch since starting the season 1-4. Dallas and surging Memphis (20-15) are now tied in the loss column.

Bold play of the game: With the Grizzlies opening things up early in the fourth quarter, Memphis guard O.J. Mayo lofted an alley-oop pass from mid-court to a rising Rudy Gay for a slam dunk, a 6-0 spurt to start the period and an 80-67 lead with 9:25 left in the game.

Stat of the day: Memphis had its way inside, scoring 62 points in the paint, spoiling Dallas' own big day inside with 52 points.

After 3: Grizzlies 74, Mavs 67

February, 29, 2012
MEMPHIS -- The difference in this game is an 18-4 run in the middle of the quarter during which the Mavs went scoreless for four minutes.

Playing without Dirk Nowitzki (lower back tightness), the Mavs are relying on scoring from all corners to hang in this one. Yi Jianlian provided a boost with six points and Brandan Wright also has six.

Memphis built a 67-57 lead, but then a lineup with Yi, Wright, Vince Carter, Roddy Beaubois and Jason Terry got within two points, 69-67. But another quick spurt by Memphis added some cushion.

At the half: Mavs 49, Grizzlies 47

February, 29, 2012
MEMPHIS -- The Mavericks responded positively from an early second-quarter scare with Dirk Nowitzki leaving the game 51 seconds in with lower back tightness. It's not known yet if Nowitzki will return.

When he left, the Grizzlies were up, 27-19. But, an active, three-guard lineup spurred by Roddy Beaubois' aggressiveness getting to the basket helped Dallas outscore Memphis 32-22 in the period.

Beaubois has a team-high 12 points, all coming in the second quarter, and Jason Terry has seven points and four assists. Vince Carter has nine points. Nowitzki left with one point and four rebounds. Jason Kidd has five points and is 1-of-1 from 3-point range.

After shooting 35 percent in the first quarter, Dallas made 13-of-17 shots in the second with 34 of their 49 points coming in the paint.

After 1: Grizzlies 25, Mavs 17

February, 29, 2012
MEMPHIS -- The Memphis Grizzlies used a 13-3 run to end the quarter with a big spark from Dante Cunningham, who had six points during the spurt.

The Mavs, well, to little surprise, are shooting 35.0 percent while Memphis is well above 50 percent.

Dirk Nowitzki has just one point, making 1-of-2 free throws. He's not finding much room to breath with 7-foot-1 center Marc Gasol draped all over him. Typically Zach Randolph would take Dirk, but Gasol is doing a good job and induced a turnover late in the period. Dirk has just one shot attempt.

Meanwhile, Gasol has six points.



Dirk Nowitzki
19.7 2.1 0.5 28.4
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.3
AssistsM. Ellis 4.8
StealsM. Ellis 1.3
BlocksB. Wright 1.5