Mavs Power Points: 'Beginning' Win In Memphis
It is maybe the most impressive aspect of Mavs 103, Grizzlies 95 on Monday: Some guys took a long time to step up. Other guys stepped up in their place, until all could be righted.
One example: Rajon Rondo may have had his worst game as a Maverick in Monday afternoon's signature win at the Memphis Grizzlies, but luckily the Mavs' sixth man and backup point guard Devin Harris was there to pick up the slack.
It seemed a disaster from the start for Rondo. After scoring the first two points for the team, Rondo picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of play and went on to have a poor night in nearly every category. Those two points were the last points Rondo would score until 3:48 left in the game, when he grabbed an offensive rebound and broke a nearly four-minute drought the Mavs were going through without a field goal. He shortly after that scored his final points on a jumper to give him six points for the night, including four fairly clutch points.
Rondo has never been a dominant scorer so his other categories are the reason for disappointment. He had only one assist, which came with about seven minutes left in the game, and only grabbed three total rebounds. Rondo also had a steal, but two turnovers.
Luckily for Dallas, Devin Harris played an efficient game. He doubled Rondo in points, scoring 12, had three assists and added five rebounds. He also had two steals and just one turnover in three less minutes than Rondo.
But altogether? This is the "balance'' coach Rick Carlisle preaches about so often. It didn't have to be one guy, or even one point guard. Dallas just recorded its first "signature'' win against a West power (that was fully healthy, the one of the nine tries previously coming against a resting Spurs squad) ... at it was accomplished with balance and depth.
It was back to the good old days for the second half. At halftime of this Martin Luther King Day matinee, Dirk had just two points. He finished with 21, meaning a 19-point second half. Dirk started the third quarter with a jump shot and a four-point play and finished the game as strong as anybody could. Dirk was the only Maverick to score in the last two minutes and he dominated. Dirk rolled off three straight shots (two of them assisted by the usual closer, Monta Ellis) and then added a couple of free throws to be the icing on the cake.
"Nothing much,'' deadpanned Rondo. "Just Dirk being Dirk."
We can't escape this game without one "Rondo-being-Rondo'' moment, too:
It was much needed, as this was arguably the best win of the Mavericks season so far (OK, maybe the double-OT thriller in Chicago deserves mention and heck, maybe when you're 29-13 a lot of 'em deserve mention) because, again, it was pretty much their first win against a healthy Western Conference power.
"We're 1-8 against the top eight teams in the West coming into today, so we know we have a long way to go,'' Carlisle said. "This is a beginning.''
And another throwback: It was flashes of 2011 because Tyson Chandler took care of business, especially in crunch time on the defensive end while Dirk was taking care of the offense. Chandler logged his 18th double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and 16 rebounds and threw in a couple of assists as well. His lone blocked shot came when it mattered most with 19 seconds left to put a defensive exclamation point on the win.
Dallas didn't get killed on the boards and survived being killed via points in the paint because TY was such a match for Gasol and Randolph.
Oh, and why is it OK if we reference TY and 2011? Because he is doing the same, pretty much.
"I don't want to compare to 2011,'' Tyson said, "but we have a really good team. We're starting to build character."
No wonder the Mavs got a road win against a quality Western Conference team. They bested the Grizzlies in field-goal percentage, shooting 44.7 percent to the Grizzlies' 42.4 and dominated them from beyond the arc, knocking in 40 percent of their shots while holding the Grizzlies to 13.4 percent from downtown. The Grizzlies got the better of the Mavs from the free-throw line, shooting 90.9 percent to the Mavs 75.8. But overall? statistical day like this will usually lead to a favorable final outcome.
Rondo was the only starter to play below 32 minutes as he played 26, and that can be attributed to his early foul trouble and overall struggles. Devin, his backup, played 23 minutes. Dirk played 32 minutes, none bigger than those final two minutes, while Chandler Parsons played a quality game with 35 minutes on the floor. Monta Ellis and Tyson Chandler both played just a tad under 40 minutes.
So everybody should be in good shape for what’s next: The Dallas Mavericks take a one-day break before traveling to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., with Fish and the gang on "Mavs Live'' starting at 6:30.
We are flooded with good candidates and great Mavs discussion on DB.com Boards. Vote here for Player of the Game, and let's talk it up! Oh, and we're cooking up more Mavs coverage throughout the night and day, so stick with us!
"This is something we can build on, but the thing about this league is you can never have a letdown.'' -- Dirk.
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