In what could be a potential first round match up preview, the Memphis Grizzlies beat up the inconsistent Dallas Mavericks 112-101. Zach Randolph led a balanced attack with 21 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Devin Harris was the high point man for Dallas in defeat with 16.
The Mavericks and Grizzlies decided to play homage to the NCAA tournament by playing truly horrid offensive basketball early in the first, managing to put up 24 total points (12-12) in the first ten minutes of game action. Dirk did hit a nifty three on a fast break on a nice dime from Rajon Rondo. Marc Gasol picked up two fouls pretty early, the second on an offensive foul. Dirk also got an awesome back door lay up, using a Rajon Rondo screen on the left wing and getting a pass from the top of the key from Monta Ellis. The Grizzlies shook off the cobwebs to end the quarter, with Vince Carter burying two threes and Jeff Green hitting a third as time expired. Memphis took a 25-18 lead after one period
The second quarter wasn't much better, even though Dallas went on an early run and took the lead for a few possessions. Somehow, the Mavericks didn't get killed by the Grizzlies even though Rick Carlisle opted to play a line up of J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, Rajon Rondo, Dirk Nowitzki, and Al-Farouq Aminu for a significant stretch of time. A Charlie Villanueva run (two quick threes) allowed Dallas to take the aforementioned lead. Marc Gasol picked up his third foul on a Monta Ellis drive, but the Mavs were unable to capitalize as every Maverick continued to miss shot after shot. The Grizzlies finished the quarter on a 10-2 run, to keep the lead at seven points at the half. Dallas shot a terrible 35% for the half.
The start of the second half saw the wheels fall off in a hurry. Tyson Chandler had a sweet oop dunk out of a timeout, then the Grizzlies decided to start pouring in the points. It looked so ugly for the Dallas starts that Rick Carlisle opted with the hockey substitution, subbing out all five players. Then things got super-funky. Amar'e Stoudemire picked up a pair of technical fouls after an amazing flop on a screen by Tony Allen. Rick Carlisle also got a technical for arguing the call. All of a sudden the Grizzlies were up 24 freaking points. Dallas made an attempt to get back in the game whittling the lead down a bit at a time, yet because of defensive lapses (or just being bad at defense), Memphis STILL held an 83-68 lead going into the final quarter.
Ah yes, the final quarter. I could write a 1000 word opus on the scraping and the clawing Dallas did to get the lead in single digits. I could tell you how Dirk Nowitzki drew an absurd four fouls on Jeff Green. I could tell you how Monta Ellis turned on the switch, finally started hitting shots, and attacked like a mad man. I'd tell you how the defense actually looked amazing. But, of course, I'd also have to tell you how many free throws the Mavericks missed. Then we'd have to discuss some of the truly horrid defensive lapses. Then I'd end with the fact that Memphis dropped a series of hammer blows on Dallas as the Mavericks scrambling went from effective to reckless. Dallas lost 112-101.
- At the 3.47 mark in the fourth, Chandler Parsons made a driving lay up to cut the lead to nine. Then, due to some sort of mix up that was beyond ridiculous, both Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons guarded Tony Allen on the way down the court. Jeff Green was wide open. The Grizzlies found him as a trailer and he nailed the three effectively ending the come back. Everything from 3:31 on was the Mavericks flailing in the wind. Let's be clear here: Jeff Green was Chandler Parsons' man. Gosh, I can't tell you how much I hate to pick on Parsons, because he's been the best player for Dallas not named Tyson Chandler since the All Star break, but Lord Almighty, I have so many notes tonight of Parsons getting schooled by everyone. Carlisle rotated him to a variety of players because he kept getting lit up, from Vince Carter threes to Tony Allen drives. But losing your man after a made basket? Come on Chandler, we need better from you.
- Of course, it's not like Parsons is alone on an island out there. Plains Capital Bank Player of the Game Devin Harris might have had a nice stat line, but he was god awful on defense at key points too. I really need the Mavericks guards to pay attention to stuff.
- I'm pretty disgusted at this loss, but it's not the end of the world (I overreacted to Parsons stumbling around just two bullet points ago, I know). But Dallas better hope to play someone else other than Memphis in the first round. Parsons and Monta Ellis, two of our best, just don't match up well with them.
- Sad to see Dirk missing open shots again. The consistency in his storied game might just be gone for good.
- Hey, at least Charlie V was fun.