The Memphis Grizzlies bring their three game win streak to the American Airlines Center looking to push a 13-15 record back to .500. The Mavericks, on the other hand, look to get back on track after falling to the depleted Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday of this week.
The Mavericks need to pick up a home win before going out on the road for a four game span that sees them taking on some stiff competition (Denver, Houston, and Los Angeles). The road trip starts tomorrow night as the Mavericks take on the Denver Nuggets (the teams first meeting since the playoffs).
Can the Mavericks expect a late holiday gift?
Game as a Whole:
I am sure everyone will get tired of me saying this but the Mavericks close out another game strong and this time they do it without Dirk’s help (he scored 0 points in the 4th). The rotation seems to have been decided (although Humphries did get some minutes due to Gooden’s absence) and even though there have been some bumps in the road the Mavericks still find themselves sitting atop the Southwest Division.
This is a very different Dallas teams than ones we have seen in the past. It would seem that the universe is flipped on it’s head as you have Josh Howard coming off the bench, Barea acting as a spark plug, and the whole team committed on the defensive end. The only thing a dedicated Dallas fan could complain about is the team’s reliance on the jump shot to get them through games, but even that is starting to change (Barea and Terry are both starting to go to the cup with more frequency).
Let’s look at the quarters…
- Mavericks lose the tip. Does anyone keep track of how many times a team wins the tip?
- Marion gets the ball early (after an 0-7 the other night) and misses his first shot. Groan.
- 10:47, Barea short jumper to break the scoring seal for the Mavericks.
- I think Marion really sets the tone for this Dallas Defense. More on that in the statistics tonight.
- Jason Kidd does his best Dirk impression with a fade away jump shot.
- 9:09, Shawn Marion gives Erick Dampier the easiest 2 points he will probably get tonight.
- 8:07, Barea continues to be aggressive. Hits the up and under with the "and 1" on the drive to the basket.
- 7:41, Rudy Gay thinks he can get a running layup on Dampier and is promptly denied.
- 7:23, Marion starts his night off with a three-point play. That should take the lid off of the basket for him.
- 7:11, Lefty layup high off the glass for Barea.
- 6:36, Mavericks take a 14-8 lead over the Grizzlies. The lead has been taken on 8 straight fast break points.
- 6:08, Dampier gets the tip in on a missed Barea layup. The Mavericks and Grizzlies are currently trading baskets.
- 5:01, Josh Howard makes his first appearance of the night.
- 4:26, Howard promptly gets called for an offensive foul on his first offensive sequence on the floor.
- 3:15, Jason Kidd loses the ball and effectively gives Memphis a two-point lead.
- 3:00, Marion has a chance at a put back but rushes it. He recently has been rushing every shot he takes under the basket.
- 2:23, Welcome to the game Jason Kidd, have a three-pointer.
- 1:42, Tim Thomas needs to get his head in the game. Two missed free throws from someone who is a shooter?
- 1:02, Add another Tim Thomas miss to the stats sheet.
- :35, Ditto.
- :04, Tim Thomas hits a three pointer to partially redeem himself.
- 11:45, Dirk opens the quarter with a 17-footer.
- 10:38, Nowitzki with another short jumper. He is trying to get it going early in the second quarter.
- 9:57, Jason Terry gives the Mavericks a 7-point lead on a short jumper. It’s nice to see the ball start going in the basket for Terry again.
- 9:19, Tim Thomas offensive rebound and a put back on a missed Dirk jump shot. Tim Thomas should stick to rebounding tonight.
- 8:37, Nowitzki with another short jumper. I think his elbow must be feeling a lot better than last game.
- 7:59, Dirk passes out of a double team and Barea knifes into the lane. Both Terry and Barea should relentlessly attack the rim, as this will allow all the other guys to get to the spots on the floor that they like.
- 7:42, Josh Howard picks up his third foul. Howard probably won’t be back until late in the third now.
- 7:12, Jason Terry turns on the "jets" after a steal and beats two Memphis players to the basket.
- 6:43, Guess the Mavericks don’t like being down ten. They have turned up the defense and forced the Grizzlies to take a couple of bad shots.
- 6:29, Teardrop from Jason Terry. Putting the team on his back right now. Is Terry in the running for another sixth man of the year?
- 6:07, Jason Terry is all over the court right now. His activity is really helping the Mavericks get back into the game. Marion goes to the free-throw line.
- Someone makes a half-court shot before halftime. The Mavericks broadcasting team is unsure what the guy has won (if anything). I still wish the NBA would give players 4-points if they hit a shot from beyond the time-line.
- 5:20, Jason Kidd tries to make a really tough pass but it leads to a Dallas turnover. Memphis was on a kick of five straight trips down the floor without scoring before that turnover.
- 4:43, Dirk is currently 5 of 6 from the floor. Hits another jumper on the assist from Erick Dampier.
- 4:03, Dirk doesn’t get enough credit for being a great passer for a big-man. Passes out of a double team to an open Jason Kidd for three.
- 3:42, O.J. Mayo gets the star treatment and gives Erick Dampier another foul.
- 3:14, Fast break layup for Jason Terry. He took it right into the teeth of the defense for the score.
- 2:44, Marion just picked up his first foul. He will need to be smart when he fouls as Josh Howard is also in foul trouble. Don’t want to put Rick Carlisle in a bad situation early in the third.
- 2:30, Lob pass from Kidd to Dampier pulls the Mavericks to within one.
- 1:53, Dirk tries to make a really tough pass to Terry in the corner but the ball ends up going out of bounds. He could have easily rotated it along the outside to Terry in the corner instead of going for the wrap-around pass.
- 1:15, Memphis ran a horrible fast-break but Dallas cuts them a break by fouling Mike Conley.
- :30.7, Jason Terry takes and makes the quick three pointer to give the Mavericks a chance at a 2 for 1.
- Dirk gets a good look at the basket (after another Terry drive to the basket) but can’t hit the fade-away to end the half. Mavericks are down by two.
- Defensive intensity spiked in the second quarter. Mavericks should look to maintain that through the third and fourth.
- 11:45, Dirk gets his first shot rejected. Not the type of start you want to see coming into the start of the second half.
- 10:20, Dirk hits a short base-line jumper to pull the Mavericks to within two points. The Mavericks are double-teaming Zach Randolph every trip down the floor. They want anyone else on the Grizzlies to beat them right now.
- 9:20, Memphis gambles for a steal but it backfires and Marion ends up getting a dunk (he is just quicker to the ball).
- 8:59, Marc Gasol offensive foul (that’s his third). Dallas has a chance to tie.
- 8:39, Mike Conley, gives Dallas two quick fouls which leads to a Marion follow up dunk (on a missed Barea layup).
- 7:23, Dirk is 7 of 10 from the floor. Hits a fade-away to tie the game.
- 6:47, Dallas takes the one point lead on an Erick Dampier turn-around flip shot.
- 6:09, Another Dirk fade-away forces Memphis to take a timeout. You can feel the tide starting to turn in the game (Nowitzki is currently boiling).
- 5:25, After a Dampier back-tip (to save a basket) Nowitzki makes another jumper.
- 4:59, Barea is left alone for a smooth jumper and the Mavericks are now up seven. The Grizzlies are forced to take another timeout lest they fall apart in front of the Maverick faithful.
- 4:15, Marion rips an offensive rebound down over three Memphis players and then gets a put-back basket.
- 3:30, Memphis has not figured out how to slow Dirk down. He hits another basket (this time going to his right). Josh Howard is now coming back into the game.
- 3:12, Drew Gooden is not available today so Kris Humphries gets some minutes off the bench (Dampier just picked up his third foul).
- 2:27, Josh Howard gets fouled on a short jumper. Makes 1 of 2. Hopefully this gets his offensive game going.
- 2:12, Howard picks up another quick foul. Memphis is in attack mode right now as they look to claw their way back into the game. Rudy Gay misses both free throws.
- 1:36, Josh Howard hits a short runner in the paint and puts the Mavericks back up by seven.
- :23.3, Jason Terry pushing the ball hard into the paint again earns Humphries a trip to the line.
- The Mavericks give up a dunk to Sam Young to close out the 3rd quarter.
- 11:13, Howard makes a defense deflection and then gets fouled on the offensive end. He makes both free throws to put Dallas up by 4.
- 10:55, Back-to-back trips to the foul line for Dallas. The team is committed to attacking the paint early.
- 10:27, The basketball gods reward Kris Humphries with a made short jumper after he gets a block on the defensive end.
- Zach Randolph has been shut down in the second half by the great team defense.
- 8:15, Two offensive rebounds on one trip down the floor but the Mavericks can’t get a score. Mayo hits a three on the other end.
- 7:21, Jason Kidd makes a long two pointer giving Dallas a 3-point lead. Not the best shot in the world.
- 6:44, Dampier screen leaves Josh Howard open for two. Howard is going to need to come on strong in this quarter if the Mavericks want to win.
- 5:19, Terry has to force up a three and luckily it goes down as the shot clock almost expires.
- 4:57, Dallas double team forces Gay to step out of bounds.
- 4:13, Josh Howard gets a fast break bucket (giving him nine points in the second half) and the Mavericks are looking like they are on their way to a win.
- 3:42, Jason Terry drops another three pointer in the bucket.
- 2:20, Mayo to the line for two shots. Dallas is letting Memphis hang around, never good to let a young team do that.
- 2:06, Dirk drops a dime to Dampier right under the basket.
- 1:24, Jason Terry grabs a key steal to prevent a Memphis basket. Amazing that he got back so quickly after missing a tip in at the other end.
- :29.5, Josh Howard gets a wide open look because Rudy Gay wants to complain about a foul he thought was committed.
- :20.6, Now it’s a free throw shooting contest with the Mavericks up by five.
- :09.7, Erick Dampier shooting free throws to put Mavericks up by seven.
- :04.1, This has now turned into a college basketball game. Jason Terry back at the line for two shots.
- Dallas wins 106-101.
Some Choice Statistics:
- Dirk Nowitzki scores 0 points in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks still get the win.
- This is the 9th consecutive start for Barea.
- The Mavericks attitude and play on the defensive end has lead to a 4th place ranking in defensive efficiency (they are only giving up 97.7 points a game). Only Boston, Los Angeles, and Charlotte (this is a big question mark for me) have a better rating.
The Mavericks have a tough 4 game road trip ahead of them. This trip will provide a great look at how well the Mavericks can cope with successive quality opponents on the defensive end. The Mavericks know what the formula for success is, now they need to execute.