Randolph's jumper lifts Grizzlies
Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins already had seen his club score more points in the third quarter than they did in the first half. He'd seen them erase an 18-point deficit against a team that had lost just once in its last 19 games.
So in a timeout with 3.1 seconds left, he asked for one more improbable feat. He wanted Zach Randolph to make a long jumper from the corner, even though he'd be covered by a 7-footer and probably have a guard chasing him, too.
Randolph made it work, putting extra arch on a 17-foot jumper and dropping it straight through the net with 0.3 seconds left, lifting Memphis to a 104-103 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.
''It's definitely higher than I normally shoot it, but I can hit a lot of shots like that,'' Randolph said. ''I felt comfortable when I released the shot.''
The Grizzlies won the season series against the Mavericks for the first time in franchise history. They went 2-0 in Dallas, after having lost the previous nine.
The Mavs had won eight straight games and 18 of 19, and seemed likely to keep those streaks alive when they dominated the first half. Then they gave up 41 points in the third quarter and were trailing going into the final period.
Dallas regained control, although never by very much, and Memphis went back ahead with 14.3 seconds left when Shane Battier caught a blocked shot and flicked in a reverse layup. Dirk Nowitzki answered with a jumper from the foul line over Battier that put Dallas ahead with 3.1 seconds left, only to have his potential game-winner trumped by Randolph's.
''It could've gone either way down the stretch, and they made a good play to win it,'' Nowitzki said. ''But it shouldn't have come down to that.''
Both of Dallas' losses since Jan. 22 have been by one point at the buzzer. This comes at the start of a stretch of four games in five days in three cities, followed by a visit from the Lakers. The Mavs also fell to a single game ahead of Los Angeles for second place in the Western Conference; a win would've pushed them closer to first-place San Antonio, which lost earlier in the day.
''That's what happens sometimes if you give up big leads all the time - at some point, it's going to come back to bite you and today (it did),'' Nowitzki said.
Jason Terry scored 26 points for the Mavericks and Nowitzki had 23. Roddy Beaubois scored a season-high 15, with 12 coming in the opening minutes; he didn't even play the fourth quarter. Shawn Marion had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Brendan Haywood, starting in place of injured center Tyson Chandler, had a season-high six blocks and eight rebounds. He did all he could to make Randolph's final shot as tough as possible. Terry was there, too, but it wasn't enough.
The Mavericks notched a couple of impressive milestones, upping their NBA record for consecutive games with a 3-pointer to an even 1,000 and seeing Jason Kidd take over No. 3 on the NBA's career steals list, breaking a tie with Gary Payton. Kidd received a standing ovation when the feat was announced during a timeout.
Memphis scored the game's first basket, then gave up the milestone 3-pointer and was playing catch-up the rest of the half. Dallas seemed to do what it wanted, when it wanted on both ends of the court.
The Grizzlies had only 38 points at halftime, in part because Randolph had only six. He became more active in the third quarter - as if he remembered that he usually has big games against Dallas - and Memphis started rolling. The Mavs saw their 17-point halftime lead dwindling and could do little to stop it. Six turnovers in the quarter helped fuel Memphis' rally.
''We amped up our aggressiveness,'' Battier said. ''And we played smarter.''
Notes: The 41-point quarter was Memphis' second-most all season and the most against Dallas. ... With two steals, Kidd has 2,447 for his career. He could catch Michael Jordan (2,514) for second, but isn't likely to even get close to leader John Stockton (3,265). ... Memphis forward Leon Powe, signed as a free agent Saturday, was active but did not play. ... The Mavs plan to re-evaluate Chandler's status Monday. ''He's doing well, making progress,'' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ... Mavs owner Mark Cuban on his team playing four games in five days, followed by a game against the Lakers: ''That's crazy. Are you kidding me? It's the NBA algorithms.''