The Dallas Mavericks (34-35) fell to the Memphis Grizzlies (41-24) Monday night on ESPN, 104-88. Former TCU standout Desmond Bane led the Grizzlies with 23 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Jaden Hardy was the high point man in the game with 28, but he needed 25 shots to get there. Dallas falls to under .500 for the first time since mid-December.
The Mavericks opened the game missing their top three scorers in Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and Christian Wood. Despite that, the team came out firing and led by Jaden Hardy’s 14 points, managed to keep pace with the Grizzlies. Early foul trouble plagued Jaren Jackson Jr. of Memphis and that played a part in the Dallas ability to keep things close. After twelve minutes, Dallas trailed 29-25.
The second frame saw the Mavericks slowly rally back. As Memphis continued to bomb and miss from beyond the arc, Josh Green and Dallas kept things close and pulled head in the second half of the quarter. The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the period with a McKinley Wright bucket giving Dallas a 50-49 lead at the half.
Dallas missed their first eight shots of the second half, which resulted in Memphis building a double digit lead. Tim Hardaway Jr. gave Dallas another injury scare, looked like a calf or foot problem, only to come back into the game. Memphis was unable to extend the lead past ten until the final minutes of the quarter, where the lead jumped to as high as 16. Memphis headed into the final frame up 85-71.
The final quarter had some fun Dallas offense... but they couldn’t stop the Grizzlies to save their lives. After the lead expanded to 19 with four minutes left, this became an end-of-bench contest with both teams trying to get out of the game without injury. Dallas fell to the Memphis Grizzlies, 104-88.
Now, some thoughts...
Falling under .500 changes the narrative
Dallas has plenty of reasons for this slide and every one of them has merit. Injuries to an already thin team results in losses. It’s not rocket science. And yet, for a team that made the Western Conference Finals last season, the current record and place in the playoff race is pretty unacceptable.
The Mavericks play 8 of their next 10 games on the road and they’re just 12-21 on the road this season. Granted, some of those games are against pretty weak competition, so Dallas has a chance to regain some ground. But time is running out.
Josh Green’s efficiency
In 27 minutes, Josh Green scored 23 points on 10-15 shooting to go along with five rebounds and seven assists. That he nearly matched and passed Desmond Bane’s line is pretty impressive considering how hampered Green was with foul trouble (five in the game). It’s nice to see Green have some life back after several games where his box score was poor and his overall impact was minimal. He’s developed into a very solid player this season.
Big man depth cant rebound
After the Saturday loss to Memphis, head coach Jason Kidd noted that Christian Wood didn’t play much because of “he depth that we have with all the bigs”. With Wood missing the game due to injury, the big man rotation of Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber, Davis Bertans, and Markieff Morris combined for 9 points and 11 rebounds. That stinks. Jaden Hardy at 6’4” led the Mavericks with eight rebounds and 5’11” McKinley Wright was second on the team with six. Have some pride guys.
You can listen to our latest podcast episode in the player embedded below, and to make sure you don’t miss a single one moving forward, subscribe to the Mavs Moneyball podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Pocketcasts, or Castbox.
You can check our our After Dark Recap podcasts, Spotify Live recordings, Moneyball Minute shows, and guest shows on the Mavs Moneyball Podcast feed. Please subscribe, rate, and review.