The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Dallas Mavericks, 120-103.
With word coming yesterday that Ja Morant would miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury and Jaren Jackson Jr. being ruled out before game time, things seemed like they were tilting towards Dallas notching their fourth-straight victory. Would that it were so simple.
Dallas seemed to come out hot, building a quick seven-point lead, but once that slipped away, the Mavericks never made much of a push to get back into the game.
Early in the first quarter, Bismack Biyombo went up to contest a layup attempt from Luka and wound up coming down awkwardly on Doncic’s right leg.
Doncic stayed in the game for a bit, but eventually subbed out and with just under two minutes to go, and headed back to the locker room. He would re-enter the game in the second quarter but made another trip to the locker room halfway through the third quarter.
He was in and out throughout the game, which bodes well for the long-term prognosis, as it doesn’t seem like anything was seriously injured, but he was visibly laboring when he came back in to play and wasn’t playing like his typically effective self, letting most of the playmaking duties fall to Kyrie Irving (not a bad safety net, all things considered.) Still, it remains to be seen how this latest fender bender will factor into Dallas’ banged-up rotation.
Talking about Memphis’ “bench” feels a little silly. They’re dealing with so many injuries and lineup juggling, that they don’t so much have a starting five, per se, as they do just one big pool of rotation players. This is evidenced by the fact that all nine of the Grizzlies that saw the floor tonight played between 18 and 36 minutes.
On the flip side, when Dallas went to their bench with Luka getting checked in the locker room, things went south quick. Kidd threw in a plethora of fringe players, looking to see if anybody had something to spark the team, but AJ Lawson, Seth Curry, Richaun Holmes, Grant Williams or Markieff Morris did much, and none of them played even 10 minutes before the benches emptied in garbage time.
The specter of shooting variance
Dallas and Memphis are both in the top five in the league when it comes to attempted threes. Dallas takes nearly 42 a game, and 39 for Memphis. In this game, it was Memphis who stuck to the blueprint. The Grizzlies took 37 threes and made 14, good for just under 38%. Dallas took just 27 and made far too few of them — nine made for 33% on the night.
Most other head-to-head stats were fairly even (minus the second chance points, where Memphis outscored Dallas 21-8. When’s Dereck Lively come back, again?), but in a 17-point loss and a 15-point differential from three, the math is unfortunately mathing.