The Grizzlies were in control midway through the third quarter, but the Mavericks clawed their way back and took control in the fourth quarter. Regulation ended in frantic fashion, but the Mavericks re-stabilized in the extra period to hang on and beat Memphis for the first time this season. Trey Burke led the way with 24 points while Justin Holiday scored a game-high 30 points.
Here’s what we observed in the Mavericks’ 32 win of the season.
Dirk Nowitzki collects his 10,000 defensive rebound
Dirk was sitting at 9,999 defensive rebounds coming into tonight’s game, so it was a virtual lock the legend would pull down the illustrious rebound today. With about 10:50 to go in the first quarter, Dirk was able to gather a Memphis miss to put him in the upper echelon of defensive rebounders. He finished the game with 5 defensive rebounds putting him fifth all-time behind Kevin Garnett, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan and Robert Parrish.
The more I read that the more amazed I am. For so long Dirk was labeled as soft. I’ve never played NBA basketball, but anyone who has played organized hoops can tell you that banging around for defensive rebounds isn’t for the faint of heart. Players don’t luck their way into 10,000 rebounds or being mentioned in the same company as KG, Duncan, Malone and Parrish. That takes hard work, grit and a whole lot of determination.
Jalen Brunson dishes 10 assists
It’s a career high for the second round pick out of Villanova and gave him his second double double of the season. Brunson has impressed immensely, especially after January blockbuster trade with the New York Knicks. Tonight was equally as impressive, considering Brunson handed out 10 assists compared to only one turnover. It’s hard to evaluate players late in the season when teams have either checked out or are preparing for the playoffs, but the Mavericks certainly have something in Brunson.
Scoot in, Dorian
It’s becoming a common theme as the season comes to a close (and really his entire career), but Dorian Finney-Smith was Coors-Light-the-mountains-are-blue-ice-cold tonight. The third-year wing shot 6-of-19 from the field including an abysmal 1-9 from deep. With Dirk resting the second half, Finney-Smith received some extended run but could not hit a shot from deep to save his life. He finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, so he wasn’t a complete negative, but the shooting was terrible. His shooting woes were just a microcosm of the Mavericks’ shooting in general. The team made only 12-of-41 from deep while the Grizzlies connected on 19-of-44 from behind the arc.
The Salah Mejri Game
The Mej is something else, man. Say what you want, but the guy gives 110 percent every second he’s on the floor, and his energy was on full display tonight. In what seemed like the most chaotic play of the Mavericks season, Mejri was able to clean it up and send the game to overtime:
But he was just getting started and saved his best for the free period. He opened overtime with seven points, a few rebounds and a block, highlighted by a cross over at the three point line to a one-handed slam dunk. He followed it up with a straight away three to put the Mavericks up seven within a few minutes of OT and the Grizzlies couldn’t quite recover. He finished the game with 19 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
The Mavericks are back in action Tuesday in what is likely Dirk’s last home game against the Phoenix Suns.