Wow and double wow; was that a game or what? The Dallas Mavericks looked like they really came to play, then they faltered and before you knew it, they were down by double-digits again, until we finally got to the fourth quarter, and then they were back on again.
As has been stated by the media, that if Dirk Nowitzki gets off to a slow start, then the Dallas Mavericks as a whole get off to a slow start, and that was the case, to an extent tonight. Dirk missed his first shot just 39 seconds into the game, but not to bother, because about 35 seconds later, he passed the ball to Vince Carter who scored a three-pointer to put the first points on the board. Dallas leads 3-0; ok now let’s call it a game and go home! Wished we could, but unfortunately we can’t.
The good thing of it was, Dirk nor Dallas stopped at that point, because about another 30 seconds later, Dirk got a rebound, got the ball to Shawn Marion, who then got it inside to Brendan Haywood for a slam and again Dallas scored; ok, can we go home now? No we can’t, we have too much time left, crap!
As a matter of fact, Dallas for a lot of the first quarter, was in control of this game, until a little over 4 minutes left in the quarter, when Memphis took a 17-15 lead and they held onto that lead for the biggest part of the game. But again, Dallas didn’t stop, because between Dirk and Delonte West, they had the hot hands for the night.
Dirk finished the night with 23 points on 10-18 shooting and West had 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting which included going 2 of 2 from downtown, so as I said, they had the hot hands on scoring for the night, but they did have some support to help as well.
Marion had 16 points and 7 rebounds, while JET added 15 points which included his 1 three-pointer that gave him his 1,760th career three-pointer and tied him with former Maverick, Peja Stojakovic, for fifth on the All-Time three-point scoring list. Congratulations JET on your accomplishment.
Roddy Beaubois, who has been struggling some of late, was back to his zipping in and out of the paint self tonight. He finished the game with 8 points and 5 assists, but he also created problems for the Grizzlies late in the game that caused turnovers and miscues. Ian Mahinmi also had some good numbers, even though he ended the night with only 4 points, he had 10 rebounds as well; so it was a good night for the Mavs.
This was a game that the Mavericks desperately needed to win in order to at least maintain their position in the standings after their ugly, and I mean ugly loss to the Clippers on Monday night. With that loss, that gave any tie-breaker situation for the playoffs to the Clippers and home court advantage. So Dallas had to win tonight since they turn right back around and play the Grizzlies again on Saturday night in Memphis and as of now the series is tied 1-1 for both of these teams, so if it comes down to any playoffs between these two, whoever wins Saturday night, gets the advantage over the other and will also take the 5th seed spot in the Conference by themselves ahead of Denver and Houston and everyone else below the #6 seed.
Dallas did come close to catching up and completely eliminating the 10 point deficit during the second quarter. As a matter of fact they were within 2 points, 47-45, with about a minute left in the half after West hit a pair of long jumpers, then got a blocked shot that then led to a put back lay-up by Dirk. They just had to hang on for a little bit longer to keep that 2 point margin, when Rudy Gay hit a mercy shot from the right side of the court as time expired to give the Grizzlies a 4 point lead, 51-47, going into halftime.
The best part of the first half, or should I say funny part, was after Dirk had made the shot, the ball went through the hoop, Dirk head butted the ball to the referee as he shouted out in frustration; looked like he was playing soccer there for a minute, just a little bit of confused I guess, but it was funny anyway. The other time was when play was going on, Dirk was blocking out a player, the whistle blew, the players were near the basket and you could hear Dirk yell out “He** no!”, one of the commentators chuckled a little and said, “You can tell Dirk didn’t agree with the call, because he said, “Oh no”, yeah right!
Dallas came out in the third ready to play ball and it was evident, because just 21 seconds into play, West hit a three-pointer to get Dallas within 1 point, then Dallas gets the rebound on the next play, they get the ball back down court to find Dirk for a fade away shot that gave Dallas their first lead, 52-51, since 4:05 left in the first quarter. And again, Dallas had been down by as many as 10 points at one time, but now they have a 1 point lead. Dallas held onto that lead until about 4:08 left in the third quarter when Tony Allen made a driving shot and gave Memphis a 62-61 lead. From there until about 8 minutes left in the game, the lead went back and forth between the two teams, with neither team having more than a 4 point lead, but then the last 7-8 minutes of the game was spectacular, if you’re a Mavericks fan, which I am.
With 8 minutes left in the fourth, Marion had been fouled, Dallas was now down by 1, Marion goes to the line for 2 free throws, which he made both of them, then that gave Dallas the last lead that they would not relinquish. Over a period of about 7 minutes, Dallas had gone on a 21-4 run that they took all the way to the bank for a 95-85 win.
Memphis just went flat, they were tired and it showed; they were in the same boat Dallas was a couple of weeks ago where they had 9 games in 12 nights which included a back-t0-back-to-back, where they went 1 and 2 and went 2 of 7 for the whole 9 games.
Memphis is trying to incorporate Zach Randolph back into the fold, since he has been out for some time now due to an injury.
Jason Kidd missed another game tonight due to a groin injury and will miss the next couple of games as well, and Lamar Odom was back after missing Monday’s game due to illness, but you could tell that he was not where he needed to be, especially since he let Quincy Pondexter pretty much dance to the basket for a score in the third that caused Carisle to yank him and put Marion back in, and it paid off in the long run.
Sometimes you have to do what’s best for the team and not what’s best for someones ego, and right now Odom doesn’t appear to want to be here, maybe I’m wrong, but it’s just his lack of effort sometimes, and it shows in how he plays. I’m sorry Lamar, but the Lakers organization wanted to trade you for what they thought would be something better, but it all didn’t go the way they wanted completely; you are on a team that at first welcomed you with open arms, but you have to do something to earn that continued respect from your teammates, coaches and the organization as a whole.
Dallas has a good group of guys that do their best to welcome you and respect you, but don’t give them sub-par play and expect supreme respect on an ongoing basis; grow up, step up and accept your responsibility, as a professional, to this team and leave all your glitz and glamour at home or in LA and get back to playing the type of ball that we all know that you can play.
Kobe said here last week or so that he’s glad that Dallas can’t find out what to do with Lamar; well maybe Lamar needs to find out what he can do for Dallas instead of what they can do for him, after all, they’re the ones signing his paycheck, not the other way around.
Next up Dallas plays Portland at home on Friday before heading out to play this same Grizzly team in Memphis on Saturday. They had better get ready and if they play against both Portland and Memphis as they did in about 65% of this game, then they should win both games.
Dallas has to however, be ready for the return of Randolph, because when he’s in there, he comes to play and it can get brutal.
Tonight Dallas finished shooting 50% from the field, 26.7% from the three and 68.8% from the free throw line while Memphis shot 42.2% from the field, 43.8% from the three and 68.8% from the free throw line. Dallas had 13 turnovers to 11 by Memphis and Dallas finally outrebounded someone; which is good since they have been outrebounded in quite a few of their games lately and some by double digits.
Mayo led the Grizzlies tonight with 17 points on 6 of 10 shooting which included connecting on 4 of his 5 three-pointers, Mike Conley added 11 points and Marc Gasol ended the night with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.
So let’s see what Dallas learns from the past two games going forward. If they play like they did in Wednesday’s game for the remainder of the season, they have a good shot at going far into the playoffs, but if they act like they did Monday against the Clippers, let’s just proxy the games and wait for next season and see what happens.
And with that I will bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!