Saturday, December 5, 2009
Memphis Grizzlies 98, Dallas Mavericks 82
Memphis has not been a kind place for the Dallas Mavericks in recent memory.
FedExForum has not been a kind place for the Dallas Mavericks in recent memory.
After losing both meetings in Memphis last season, the Southwest Division-leading Mavericks weren't looking at the Grizzlies' 7-12 record or the seven games that separated the two squads in the standings coming into the night. And with good reason, as Memphis once again blew past Dallas, using a big second quarter run to sprint to a 98-82 win over the Mavericks, handing Dallas its third straight loss in the Grizzlies' home arena.
"We struggled with them last year," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said before the game. "We were 0-for-2 in here last year, so this has been a tough place for us to play."
Carlisle's pre-game forecast rained true on Friday night.
Fresh off of a record-setting shooting performance in a 117-101 road win over the New Jersey Nets, the Mavericks struggled to duplicate that hot shooting two nights later, and it carried over to the defensive end.
"We didn't defend well enough at the beginning of the game, at any point or in any stretch of the game," Carlisle said.
The Mavs had no answer defensively for Memphis' second-year shooting guard O.J. Mayo, pouring in 14 quick points in the first quarter to give Memphis an early advantage. But Dallas responded, as rookie guard Rodrigue Beaubois played like a veteran from the onset to keep Dallas close, before Tim Thomas and the Mavericks' second unit surged ahead 30-28 after one.
With the Dallas starters on the bench, a 17-0 Memphis run powered the Grizzlies back ahead early in the second quarter. The Grizzlies never trailed from that point.
After falling behind by as many as 13 in the period, the Mavs crept closer to end the half down 58-51, after being outscored 30-21 in the second.
"They have a nice squad over there," forward Shawn Marion said of the upstart Grizzlies. "You can't take them lightly. They're young, but at the same time, you have to know that if you give a young team confidence then it's hard to knock them out of the box."
Led by Mayo's 17 first half points on 7-of-9 shooting, Memphis out-shot Dallas 54 to 44 percent in the half. Struggling to get back in the game, the Mavs shot 3-of-11 from 3-point range in the first 24 minutes.
"We were trying to hit too many home runs. Even when you're down in games, you have to still work the game and go two at a time. We became impatient, and we didn't play the kind of game we needed to play really at either end," Carlisle said.
Things didn't get any better for Dallas in the third quarter, as Rudy Gay came to life for Memphis, helping the Grizzlies open up as much as a 15-point lead en route to taking a 78-67 advantage into the fourth.
While sixth man Jason Terry did everything in his power to keep Dallas in contention from behind the 3-point arch early in the final quarter, the rest of the Mavs found little success putting the ball in the basket in Dallas' comeback effort. After the Memphis lead ballooned to 20 in the fourth, it was clear it wasn't Dallas' night, as Carlisle emptied the bench in the final minutes in preparation for the second night of a back-to-back.
"It's the NBA, it doesn't matter if you're the worst team in this league, you can beat the best team," center Erick Dampier said.
"Even if the ball is not going in for us, our defense has to be there every night. Those guys came out and played hard tonight, shot the ball well, and came out victorious."
Memphis' 46 percent shooting night was plenty to leave the home floor with the win, as Dallas shot just 35 percent, including 8-of-29 from 3-point range. The two teams battled to a 46-46 rebounding stalemate on the glass.
Playing from behind much of the night, the Mavericks settled for numerous outside shots. Shots that just weren't falling on Friday night.
"It was a cycle that we never were able to stem. On night's when you're not shooting well, you have to be solid defensively, and we just weren't," Carlisle said.
"We shot no free throws in the second half, which meant that basically we became a jump-shooting team and a passive team offensively, as well. You're not going to win on the road in this league playing like that."
Terry led Dallas with a team-high 18 points, while Dirk Nowitzki racked up a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, albeit in a loss.
Mavericks / Grizzlies recap
Mayo finished with a game-high 25 points, while Zach Randolph posted a double-double with 24 points and 16 rebounds.
Dallas returns to the American Airlines Center on Saturday night, when they play host to the Atlanta Hawks. That game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 8 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS.
"We're just going to come out tomorrow and get ready for those guys," Dampier said.
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