The Dallas Mavericks stumbled in the fourth quarter and fell to the Memphis Grizzlies, 112-108 on the road Monday night. Jaren Jackson Jr. was the high point man for Memphis with 28. Kyrie Irving scored 28 for Dallas but couldn’t find a bucket in the fourth as the Dallas lead slipped away.
The still-hobbled Dallas Mavericks made a strong go of things early against the Grizzles, pushing on turnovers and misses to score seven early fast break points. This gave Dallas a 15-14 lead at the six-minute mark despite the Mavericks giving up a number of offensive boards early. Memphis methodically attacked Dallas but for every basket made, Kyrie Irving had a strong answer. Dwight Powell picked up three fouls in the first quarter, forecasting potential problems for the Dallas big rotation later in the game. The two teams traded runs to close out the quarter with Dallas down 30-28.
Bench scoring from Frank Ntilikina and Christian Wood helped the Mavericks keep pace and pull ahead of the Grizzles. Jackson aided the Mavericks in the middle of the quarter, committing a flagrant foul on Wood then picking up a technical soon after. Davis Bertans once again provided another spark off the bench with his shooting and aggressiveness. Irving kept scoring with remarkable ease despite the difficult attempts and that helped Dallas keep their second-quarter lead. The Mavericks took a 60-57 lead into the half.
Dallas had a brief scare to open the third when Irving went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury. Aided by Dillon Brooks continuing to be a top player for the other team along with Jackson’s bafflingly stupid fifth foul, the Mavericks built a double-digit lead and slowly inched ahead leading by as many as 16. It was a spectacular quarter of team basketball and the Mavericks took a 96-83 lead into the final period.
Would it become a clutch game (within five points within five minutes left in the game)? Of course it would! The Grizzlies bench slowly chipped away as the bench unit pounded Dallas on the boards and on the break. The 16-point lead slipped all the way down to four before coach Jason Kidd finally called a timeout to steady the ship, only for it not to matter and Memphis to take the lead. The Dallas offense simply died — the Mavericks scored just 12 points as every single Dallas player failed to make a meaningful difference. After cooking most of the game, Irving couldn’t connect on anything. Dallas falls back to an even .500, losing to Memphis 112-108.
Second-chance points dooms Dallas again
While the flame-throwing Mavericks helped Dallas escape from Los Angeles on Friday, slightly less incandescent shooting paired with the same problem they’ve had all year in offensive rebounding led to a painful loss. Dallas surrendered 17 offensive rebounds and 22 second-chance points to Memphis. Santi Aldama worked Dallas, grabbing five all by himself much to the chagrin of Christian Wood, the Maverick usually closest to him.
No matter where Dallas goes this season, an off-season priority has to be finding guys who box out and rebound.
Jaren Jackson Jr., bully in the key
I mocked Jackson above because he’s a very good player who does really young person things. He’s also very good, as evidenced by his 28 points. He only hit one three, so his nine other made baskets were two-pointers and the rest of his points were scored on free throws. He didn’t care who Dallas put on him, Jackson went to work. Related to the first point, Dallas needs better bigs.
Jaden Hardy was good!
A very dim silver lining is the play of Jaden Hardy. 20 points in 19 minutes on a very efficient 7-of-13 from the floor to go along with four assists and some rebounds. I don’t have a ton to say here, he got worked a little in the fourth, but so did everyone. Not entirely sure how/where he gets more minutes unless Dallas is fine playing a very small team, but he’s looked better and better as the season goes along and that’s something.
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