Talk about a jolt to the adrenaline glands, this is what the Dallas Mavericks needed. Getting back to back wins, first against the emotional Sacramento Kings in overtime, then to come home and beat one of the league leading teams, the Memphis Grizzlies, was a good thing.
I know, some people are going to say that the Grizzlies were tired since they just played the night before in San Antonio in an overtime game when they had to play the Mavericks, but still, it’s not like they had to fly across the country, they flew less than an hour flight from San Antonio to Dallas, so they had some down time, but still a win is a win no matter what.
The first meeting of these two teams, Memphis won and it was like a thump to O J Mayo, loosing to his former team and it’s always a good morale booster when you face your previous team and win, but it’s a hard pill to swallow to play them and lose, well this time, it was a sweet victory for the team and Mayo.
Even though Mayo only scored 11 points, which included two of the three pointers that was raining inside the American Airlines Center, he had a good impact on the team as a whole. His enthusiasm and drive for the night was a carry-over from the Kings game and it showed throughout this game. He was driving the lane, setting guys up for the shots and playing tough defense and it rubbed off on the others as well.
Shawn Marion led the Mavericks in scoring with 20 points which included connecting on 2 of 3 three pointers and was on fire all over the court and as he said after the game, “yeah I think I might have been a little selfish in my play, but I think I deserve it”, and he does. Marion is one of the most under-rated players in the league and one of the most defensive minded players there is. Back in the day when he played for the Phoenix Suns, I hated playing them because I knew that he would be guarding up on Dirk and being in his back pocket all night, and he usually was. Now it’s great that he is on our team and now we can use that same mindset he has to put his mojo on the other guys.
Speaking of Dirk, he had 17 points for the night which included hitting 5 of 8 from the field, connecting on all 3 of his three point attempts, but was only 4 for 7 from the free throw line. Now Dirk, we know that you can do better than this at the free throw line because that’s your bread and butter game and we know you will do better, but Dirk was not the only one who had trouble at the charity stripe since Dallas shot only 71.4% for the night.
Tonight was a good night for Chris Kaman, he scored 14 points for the night, but he was very active under the basket and blocking guys out of the paint because between him and Elton Brand who had 10 points, kept the paint shut down and only allowed Memphis to score 30 points in the paint whereas Dallas has been horrible at defending the paint throughout the whole season.
Darren Collison rounded out the guys who scored in double digits for the night, finishing with 10 points also but is getting better at running the court and driving the lane. He also was a big part of the fast break scoring for Dallas who outscored Memphis 21-10. So with him and Mayo and Roddy B running the court, Dallas was able to finish strong.
Dallas also finished the night shooting 48.8 from the field and 64.7 from downtown, where as Memphis finished with 38.1% from the field and 37.5 from downtown; both teams protected the ball fairly well, Dallas only had 9 turnovers to Memphis’ 8, but Dallas got the rebounding edge 48-41.
The other big and what I would call best stat for the numbers for the night was Dallas won every quarter in scoring except the fourth, but the lead was so big at that point, that a 5 point deficit in fourth quarter scoring didn’t matter.
Memphis only had 3 guys in big scoring for the night which were Rudy Gay who had 12, former Dallas standout Darrell Arthur had 11 and Jason Selby had 10.
This game started like a lot of the rest of the games, it was back and forth for a while, but once Dallas took a 5 point lead, I knew they had something going for themselves and they did. You could see the frustration on the faces of the Grizzlies and they appeared to not even be trying at some point. There were a couple of plays under the basket that both Kaman and Brand were able to get an offensive rebound, bring it out from the basket and no Memphis defender even attempted to block them for their shot.
A true turning point in the game was when Dallas pulled away in the second quarter by shooting 58.8% (10-for-17) from the field and 4-for-5 behind the arc, getting 3-pointers from Marion, Nowitzki, Vince Carter and rookie Jae Crowder which helped Dallas take a 54-39 lead into the locker room; and from there Dallas never really looked back.
Dallas had built up a 30 point lead between the third and fourth quarters, so much to that they were able to relax most of the starters and just run guys coming off the bench, and even at that point Dallas had a 102-68 lead when all the starters were pulled and Memphis went on a 13-0 run before Brandan Wright scored the last basket for Dallas to finalize the win.
It does feel better when you win and it makes your team look better as well and they looked and felt better during and after the game, now let’s hope that carry over carries into the next game against Minnesota, who will be without Kevin Love, but there again, they didn’t have him the last time these two teams played.
Now I know they are not winning the championship yet, but with these wins, it will help with their self-confidence and self-esteem, which they needed right now. So with the momentum on their side, let’s see how they man handle the Wolves, and with that I will bid you a good night and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!