Court Vision: Grizzlies win streak snapped by Mavericks
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dallas hit 10 3-pointers and beat Memphis 103-95 on Monday, dropping the Grizzlies to 29-12 at the season’s halfway point.
1. ONE LOSS WON’T DEFINE THE HALF
That’s 41 down and 41 to go. If the Grizzlies finish the second half keeping pace with the first, that would mean a franchise-record 58 wins.
"I think we’ve still got some things to work on. We’ve got a lot of work to do, preparing ourself for down the stretch where we want to be," Grizzlies forward Tony Allen said.
Against the top eight in the competitive Western Conference, Memphis is now 10-4, 18-7 against the conference overall. Only Golden State’s 20-6 mark is better. And one of those six losses came in Memphis.
The Grizzlies, currently the West’s No. 3 seed, are 16-5 at home, behind Nos. 1 and 2 Golden State and Portland for home records. Fans know it, Monday the eighth sellout, only 10 shy of the franchise record with 20 home games to play. There is still plenty of work to do and new faces to do it with, namely Jeff Green (noted later).
"We’re still working," Allen said," trying to avoid complacency with this good record we have."
The home stretch continues Wednesday, Saturday and Monday with the Raptors, Sixers and Magic, Toronto the only game that ending in a loss wouldn’t be alarming.
2. 3-BALL KILLED THE INSIDE-OUT STAR
Memphis outscored Dallas (29-12) a whopping 58-26 in the paint … and lost, because the Mavericks, third in the league averaging nearly 27 3-point attempts per game, made 10 of their 25 outside shots.
Memphis shot to keep up, aiming 22 times, but finishing with three makes. Do the math and that’s 30-9 advantage from behind the arc.
"We got a lot of good looks. The ball just didn’t go down for us," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said.
That included some easy looks, including one Zach Randolph lamented postgame. His shot two feet away in a three-point game in the fourth quarter bounced inside the rim and popped right out. The paint didn’t result in free throws, either. Dallas went to the line 33 times, one shy of a Grizzlies opponent-high for the season, and made 25. Memphis went to the line 22 times, making 20.
The loss overshadowed big nights from bigs Randolph (18 points, 15 rebounds) and Marc Gasol (20 points, eight rebounds).
Gasol sent it back to defense.
"We changed our rhythm offensively. They went to a zone. And on top of that, we couldn’t get stops," Gasol said. "That’s a bad combination to win games."
Monta Ellis hit 9 of his 18 shots for Dallas, 3 of 7 from 3-point range for a game-high 25. Rajon Rondo had two points until four straight in the final three inutes, 22 seconds after the Grizzlies took their first lead since the first quarter. Dirk Nowitzki had 10 of his 21 in the fourth.
3. FEWER WRITING OFF THE JEFF GREEN DEAL
A lot of the talk around the Jeff Green deal from Boston circled around less-than-impressive advanced stats and about the pick the Grizzlies gave up to get him.
As Vinnie Barbarino would say, "Up your nose with a …" after another impressive night. Especially in the first half. Green came off the bench for the fourth straight time and the honeymoon at Deformed is still on. Green, once Boston’s top option and leading scorer, is the third or fourth option in Memphis and he is relishing the role.
He’s in early and in crunch time.
"Early in the game, you can kind of just tell him to go with the flow," said Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, who scored a team-high 22. "When it comes down to the end, that’s when we have to start executing, we have to run our plays. And that’s where he hasn’t been with the team long enough to know the reads. That’s just a process and I’m happy with what he’s done so far."
In the first half, playing forward, the versatile Green looked plenty happy to post up, scoring a plus-one on Richard Jefferson and bullying through Al-Farouq Aminu. He had a highlight alley from Beno Udrih and after missing a shot in the half, chased Chandler Parsons from behind for a blocked shot. Green had 11 points — now in double figures in all four games with the Grizzlies — and eight rebounds.
Green is only 3 for 17 from deep, so there will still be some criticism, but so far he has delivered on his deal — much needed athleticism.
1/2: That’s how far Dallas now sits behind No. 3 Memphis in the standings.
17: Dallas won the offensive glass 12-9 and scored 17 second-chance points to Memphis’ 14.
"They’re going to hold up for me." — Conley asked if his ankles, rested recently, were going to hold up 82 games, plus playoffs.
"The biggest thing was we stayed even with them on the boards and we had a low-turnover game. If you do those two things, you at least have a chance against those guys." — Dallas coach Rick Carlisle