DALLAS — Thanks to Keyon Dooling and the rest of the Memphis bench, the Grizzlies still have a chance to stay home after their regular-season finale to start the playoffs.
Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks can only hope to break even.
Dooling hit the go-ahead 3-pointer before Ed Davis made consecutive baskets, and reserves accounted for all 35 points the Grizzlies scored in the fourth quarter while rallying for a 103-97 victory Monday night to keep alive their chance of hosting a first-round playoff series.
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“Our intensity, our energy, our effort was revved up. Coach really challenged us at halftime to run harder and play with more force,” said Dooling, on his seventh team in a 13-year NBA career. “The bench, we were trying to find some continuity, find out how we can play with each other. We did a good job in all those categories.”
Dooling, who had scored a combined 12 points in his five games since signing as a free agent April 3, hit a 3-pointer with 8:02 left for an 80-78 lead. There was also a loose-ball foul on the play, and Quincy Pondexter made the free throw. Davis then hit a pair of baskets after Dallas turnovers, stretching the lead to 85-78 – and the Mavs never got closer than five after that.
Jerryd Bayless had 19 points and Memphis’ reserves accounted for 64 points. Davis had 11 points and 11 rebounds. The only Memphis starter scoring in double figures was Tayshaun Prince with 12.
“I thought in the first half our guys didn’t come out and compete. They were treating it like an exhibition game,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “I’m excited about the attitude that we took in the second half and we finished the game, and was really pleased that the second unit was able to finish the game.”
To have home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, the Grizzlies (55-26) need the Pacific Division champion Los Angeles Clippers to lose one of their remaining two games. Memphis then has to win its regular-season finale at home Wednesday against Utah.
A clean-shaven Dirk Nowitzki had 26 points and Vince Carter 22 for the Mavs, who had finally reached .500 for the first time since Dec. 12 with a win at New Orleans on Sunday night. They had vowed not to shave until reaching .500 – though it lasted only one night.
The Mavericks (40-41), NBA champions only two years ago, already knew they were going to miss the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons. Now they have to win their season finale Wednesday night at home against the Hornets to avoid their first losing record since going 40-42 in 1999-2000, the end of a miserable decade without a winning season.
There was a moment of silence before the game for those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. There were no noticeable changes in security at the American Airlines Center, though police officers assigned to the game were doing more patrols outside the building.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle began his playing career in Boston. He was picked in the third round of the 1984 draft by the Celtics and was part of their 1986 NBA championship.
“Sickening. Tragic. That’s about all I can think of right now,” Carlisle said about the bombings before the game. “They used to run right by my place. … It’s great. Every year, it’s a big deal.”
Dallas, which had a 14-point lead before halftime, was ahead 80-78 on Nowitzki’s three-point play, which came just more than 2 minutes after his four-point play to tie the game at 73-all.
After Pondexter’s free throw, O.J. Mayo missed two shots in 44 seconds. The teams traded turnovers and Davis made a layup between those misses before Mayo had a defensive rebound, only to have the ball stolen by Bayless. That led to a fast-break jumper by Davis, who was fouled by Mayo and made the free throw.
Mayo, who spent the first four seasons of his career with Memphis before his deal last summer that includes a player option for next season, was 1-of-6 shooting with four turnovers.
“He just had a bad night; I guess I will write it off to that. But I will tell you what, if I was playing against my former team, I’d come out ready to go at them. But that’s just me,” Carlisle said. “He didn’t compete tonight. … In the biggest game of the year, an opportunity to be a winning team, for him to show up like he did tonight I was shocked.”
Memphis went on a 19-4 run into the third quarter after Chris Kaman’s short fadeaway jumper put Dallas up 46-32 with 4:08 left in the first half. The Grizzlies didn’t lead until Tony Allen’s 3-pointer with 7:12 left that made it 51-50, the first of 11 lead changes the rest of that quarter.
NOTES: Nowitzki was recognized before the game for his 25,000th career point, reached Sunday. … Carter passed Clyde Drexler for 27th on the NBA career scoring list with his five points in the first quarter. That gave him 22,197, two more than Drexler before adding more. … Kaman was still sporting a full beard. “It’s a beard for me. … I was already growing it,” Kaman said.