The Mavericks are coming off of what might arguably be one of their most important wins of the regular season. They beat the Denver Nuggets soundly, 103-93, with a rare triple-double from the überman himself, Dirk Nowitzki. They currently stand amid the chaos that is the Western conference, all alone in the 2-seed. Tonight, Dallas faces the Memphis Grizzlies, to whom they lost in Graceland on December 4th. In fact, the Mavericks have a difficult time winning in Memphis, having lost there for 3 games straight. Prior to this streak, the Griz had lost to Dallas 13 straight times. Tonight Dallas will have to prove that they can keep their level of play at playoff quality for more than one game in a place where they’ve struggled in the recent past.
Will the Mavericks rise to the occasion, or with the Grizzlies kill their momentum into the post-season?
Game as a Whole:
Well it wasn’t pretty, but the Mavericks have made their 10th straight season with 50 wins. The teams were both prone to turnovers tonight, and benefited off of each other’s mistakes with the Mavs scoring 18 and the Griz scoring 17. Dirk started off weak, missing most of his first shots. Terry kept the team afloat, scoring 29, and Butler had 13 rebounds on the night. Kidd had four three-pointers, and Dirk added three of his own once he found his shot. In fact, the game went the way it did because of his clutch play in the final quarter.
Memphis did not have a bad night by any stretch of the imagination. Mayo, Conley and Randolph scored 27, 25 and 24, respectively. But where Dallas succeeded was in their teamwork. The points were spread more evenly, and they had 22 team assists to Memphis’ 14. Some of the best plays came when the Mavericks were unselfish and made the extra pass. We, as fans, love a win as much as the next guy. It would be nice, however, to do so in convincing fashion, rather than resorting to nail biters at the end of overtime. We’re lucky to have such a clutch player in Dirk Nowitzki.
Let’s take a look at the quarters…
- Despite feeling ill during shootaround, Caron Butler will be in the starting lineup tonight.
- Mavs win the tip.
- Dallas starts a bit sluggish. They can’t hit from close in, and commit turnovers early.
- 10:27, Dirk with his first assist of the night as he dishes to Brendan Haywood.
- 9:20, Haywood worked hard under the basket and hits in close. He has all 4 of Dallas’ points.
- Mavs are committing easy turnovers. They are down 13-6.
- 6:22, Marion misses a shot, but Butler tips it back in.
- Mavericks have 5 offensive turnovers. Make that 6 with another one by Dirk.
- Najera and Jet come in with four and a half minutes.
- 4:24, Kidd hits a three, nothing but net.
- 3:40, Dampier misses a shot, and Najera comes flying in for the offensive rebound. He certainly adds a spark when he comes in.
- 3:22, Kidd gets another three with the assist from Jet to bring the Mavericks within 6.
- 2:34, Najera contributes with one from beyond the arc. That doesn’t mean, however, he should keep jacking them up.
- :28.8, Jet loses it but Dirk finds the ball and gives it right back to Terry who hits on a short jumper.
- Butler hits an open three at the buzzer to close the gap.
- Roddy stays in for the start of the second.
- Both teams are having turnover issues.
- 10:52, After a miss by Jet, the ball pops out to Dirk who makes it in rhythm for his first points.
- 10:25, Terry caps the 9-0 run with a pair of free throws to bring the Mavs within one.
- 10:03, Roddy makes his dangerous three to put Dallas ahead by 2.
- Mavericks already have 9 turnovers, which is more than they had in the entire game against Denver.
- 7:33, Haywood makes a strong move for the offensive rebound and gets fouled. He misses both.
- 6:35, Butler powers into the lane and earns free throws.
- 6:18, Terry has some fancy footwork and dribbles into the lane to get a pair of free throws.
- 4:40, Kidd makes his third of four three-point shots.
- 4:04, Terry takes Gasol on for a jump ball. The Grizzlies get it, of course.
- 3:48, Dirk with a dirty dunk! One handed, I might add.
- 3:15, JET with a beautiful three. They are shooting 7 of 12 from distance.
- 1:22, On a fastbreak, Kidd hits Terry for a layup, giving him 13.
- :47.7, Thanks to several inside plays from Kidd, Terry is able to hit on a midrange jumper.
- Teams go into the locker room tied at the half.
- Bad passes seem to be the theme for the night. Three have just sailed right out of bounds.
- 8:46, Butler gets the first points of the quarter on a put back off his own miss. 11 second-chance points for the Mavericks.
- 6:18, Haywood gets a shooter’s bounce? We’ll take it.
- Mavs are now down by 10.
- 4:38, Kidd sends the assist to Terry who connects.
- 3:50, Terry gets a steal and takes it all the way down for a score.
- 2:15, Dirk, having an off night, finally gets a three.
- 1:35, Right now the Mavericks have Terry. And that’s about it.
- Butler misses two free throws. Mavericks down by 6.
- Mavericks keep strong defense for the last seconds of the quarter and get the steal. Thabeet gets called on a goal tend and knocks Butler in the face.
- 11:09, Roddy comes in for a quick score in the lane.
- 9:36, Roddy gets a little block during some solid defensive play. The Mavericks need more stops if they want to close the gap.
- 7:08, Roddy dishes to Haywood under the basket where he’s fouled. He completes the three-point play.
- 5:54, Dirk takes it to the hole and a goal tend is called.
- Some decent defense forces the Grizzlies to run out the shot clock.
- 4:18, Beaubois runs the length of the court for a score.
- 4:00, Dirk strips the ball and Terry gets fouled on the fast break. The Grizzlies are over the limit, and Jet makes both.
- 3:09, Dirk rolls to the basket for two.
- 2:01, Dirk puts himself at 17 with another three. He just keeps on trucking.
- 1:20, NOW the man is feeling it. Another made three ties the game, and things just got interesting.
- :45.9, He is out of control and they can’t stop him. All hail the überman.
- Tight defense under the Memphis basket leads to a jump ball between Kidd and Carroll.
- Great defense prevents the last chance for a regulation win. This is going to overtime.
- Grizzlies get the jump ball.
- 4:45, JET with the fast break layup. It’s the Mavericks’ first lead of the 2nd half.
- 4:13, Kidd to Dirk to Roddy for the quick score resulting from a Kidd steal.
- 3:28, Kidd’s first points of the second half come from a three to give Mav’s a 5 point lead.
- 2:16, JET hits from his favorite spot on the baseline.
- Mavericks manage to keep Griz from scoring on two consecutive possessions.
- :24.0, Nowitzki hits a perfect fadeaway jumper. Mavericks up three.
- :13.0, Mavericks get the ball back after some Memphis free throws. Dirk gets fouled twice and will take two shots will 11 seconds to go. Of course, he makes both.
- Mavericks foul Randolph with :09.7 left in the game. He makes both.
- OJ Mayo misses the play designed for him, and Marion gets the rebound and is fouled. He gets his first point of the game on the free throw that ices them.
Some Choice Statistics:
- 24 of the Mavericks’ 50 wins have been decided by 6 points or fewer.
- Dallas leads the Western conference with 24 road wins.
- Both teams committed 24 personal fouls tonight. Creeeeeepy.
Tomorrow night, the Mavericks host the Orlando Magic, who have won 6 of their last 8 games. Mavericks are 11-7 on the second night of back-to-back games. Let’s hope these old boys are still feeling young at heart.