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6 thoughts after the Dallas Mavericks get outworked by the Memphis Grizzlies, 97-90

Dallas got out worked and lost, again.

Memphis Grizzlies v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks lost their eleventh game of the season Saturday night, falling to the Memphis Grizzlies 97-90. Former TCU standout and Mavs Moneyball 2020 draft favorite Desmond Bane lit the Mavericks on fire to the tune of 29 points and 9 rebounds. Tim Hardaway paced Dallas with 29 points of his own, most of which were scored after the game was out of reach.

It was another frighteningly awful offensive performance for the Mavericks. Despite missing Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, it was reasonable to assume some of the gunners on the Dallas roster might score some points, yet they mustered just 37 in the first half. Memphis took control in the second quarter, slowly building their lead to as many as 15 points over the frame. Dallas found themselves down 49-37 at the half.

Memphis dominated much of the third quarter as well and threatened to run away with it after a De’Anthony Melton block led to a Melton three on the break, giving Memphis a 17 point lead. But Dallas responded with back to back threes to give the Mavericks a lifeline. Dallas hung around in the fourth, mainly due to Memphis turnovers and fouling and closed it to single digits late, but it simply wasn’t enough.

Now, some things

Tim Hardaway finally got going

Tim Hardaway had a pretty rough first three quarters, going 2 of 9 from the field. Then in the fourth, Timmy put his head down and got to the free throw line over and over. After that, shots started falling from everywhere. He scored 20 in the frame but also missed a number of free throws which would’ve made it even closer.

A disappointing performances from Jalen Brunson

In a game missing all the brightest starts, including Ja Morant on the Memphis side of things, this was a game for Jalen Brunson to remind Maverick fans of his value. But it really wasn’t to be, with Brunson scoring 15 points on 7 of 20 shooting to go along with eight assists.

Brunson’s had a rough go of things since injuring his foot and returning, but one has to think he’ll return to form within his role soon enough. If anything, this game is a reminder that he might be best suited as a spark plug and not the go-to starter many fans seem to think he is.

Memphis offered Dallas a lifeline, Dallas couldn’t take hold

The Memphis Grizzlies shot 58% from the line, hitting just 14 of 24 over all. They also turned the ball over 22 (!!!) times.

And yet the Mavericks trailed by double digits for most of the contest. That’s another way of saying they should’ve been beaten by more if the Grizzlies just played a little bit better.

Desmond Bane continues to haunt Dallas

Bane finished the game with 29 points. Josh Green has just 14 points this season. Desmond Bane hit four threes in the game. Josh Green has four made threes in his career. Bane destroyed Dallas and it’s insane that he seemingly wasn’t even on their radar in 2020 despite playing in the same town! There was an argument about arm length and athleticism but Bane had an in-game dunk that looked a hell of a lot more athletic than anything Green’s done in garbage time.

Folks are likely sick of us talking about this, but I’m feeling the sort of despondent in the game that I want to remind everyone of the failure that was the 2020 draft again. If Luka Doncic ever gets fed up and demands a trade, the 2020 dud of a draft (despite so many valuable players going late first, early season) is going to be one of the many bad mistakes to haunt Governor/General Manager Mark Cuban.

Two of the starters in this game also played significant minutes in the second worst loss in Dallas Maverick history

Way back in November of 2016, the Mavericks poured in 64 points in a NBA game, also against the Memphis Grizzlies. Two starters in tonight’s game, Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell, also played in that game, with Finney Smith starting.

It’s an interesting fact mostly, but I’m running out of new ways to say the Dallas insistence for three seasons now that this group of guys is going to get the job done is nonsense. Watching this team, writing about this team, and talking about this team hasn’t been fun this season.

Could things change? Sure. Sure they could. Things can always change in basketball, it’s a fluid game. But the Dallas problems are systemic and institutional and until they change something past the head coach (which has been a downgrade but I still understand why they made the change), we’re just going to keep seeing variations on a theme.

This Dallas offense is abhorrent

The past three losses, the Mavericks are averaging just 22.5 points a quarter. Those numbers are boosted by some late efforts after games were already out of hand. It’s getting ridiculous.

Second Spectrum data has this team at 30th in rim attempts, which is really the crux of all their problems in my opinion. They have one to one and half players capable of a decent drive and the offense has become a slaughterhouse of bad shots. Don’t read into that NBA data about open shots, because it largely doesn’t matter if the players taking the shots can’t hit them. They aren’t good shots, is what I’m saying.

They were the first best offense in 2019-20. Dallas was the eighth best offense in 2020-21. I don’t know what they are now but in three of their last four games they’ve failed to score more than 91 points, so they effectively stink on offense. Someone has to be held accountable for this.

Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.