Rapid Fire: Mavs Drop 2nd Straight With Loss At Grizzlies

The Mavs have now lost two straight and the problems plaguing them are familiar ones. Rapid Fire on Dallas' 110-96 loss Tuesday at Memphis:

Rapid Fire: Mavs Drop Second Straight, Fall to Grizzlies 110-96

1. The Mavs came into to Tuesday night’s game at the FedEx forum on the heels of a 117-114 loss to Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder, looking to rebound against an inconsistent Grizzlies team that is still missing it’s leader in Zach Randolph. Unfortunately for Dallas, the shots just weren’t there as they fell to the Grizzlies, 110-96.

“Same stuff as in OKC: Just not good enough,” Dirk Nowitzki bemoaned of the problems that are plaguing Dallas right now. “We were turning the ball over, and we were in trouble. … Just a tough night.”

2. The Grizzlies came out firing behind hot shooting from Tony Allen (I know, I never thought I’d type that either) and Mike Conley, outscoring the Mavs 21-17 in the first frame. The Mavs have had trouble out of the gate in recent games, but have been able to overcome early deficits on most occasions.

         

3. Dirk connected on the 1600th three-pointer of his Hall of Fame career. It’s really amazing to see all of these milestones being knocked down by the Big German. He is an absolute class act, a phenomenal teammate, and an absolute legend on the court. Congrats, Dirk.

4. Dirk did get off to a rough one-of-six start from the floor, but connected a his milestone three to break the drought, finishing the first half with seven points. Dirk would end the game scoring 14 points on 33 percent shooting to go along with 10 boards.  

5. The Mavs got off to a very cold start offensively in this one, shooting 33 percent in the first half. Though the Grizzlies shot just 37 percent from the field themselves in the opening 24, they would take a 46-36 lead into the locker room behind 11 first-half points from Mike Conley. 

6. Deron Williams has been the Mavs go to guy over the last two or three games, but was in and out of the game early thanks to three first half fouls. Dirk is still the best player on this team, but D-Will is the straw that stirs the Mavs drink, and when he’s not playing well or in foul trouble, they really struggle.

                        

D-Will ended the game with 10 points and three dimes.

7. Let me be clear, nobody likes to hate a Gasol more than I do. For the most part, in the view from this Mavs homer, the Gasols are whiny, annoying basketball players and I simply hate watching them. That being said, Marc Gasol is a machine. He blocks shots, he rebounds at a high level, and he’s very impressive offensively in multiple facets of the game. Even when he struggles on the offensive end, he finds ways to help is team. I hate saying it, but there probably hasn’t been a better center in the league over the last three or four years. Gasol finished the night with 15 points and 10 rebounds. 

8. Zaza Pachulia had yet another double-double for the Mavs on Tuesday night, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 boards. Pachulia now has nine double-doubles on the season already, and is now on pace for 49 double-doubles this season. Zaza has easily been the Mavs biggest surprise this year, and has done a fantastic job filling the shoes of Tyson Chandler. TY by the way is only averaging 5.3 points and 9.3 boards per game for Phoenix … just sayin. 

           

9. The Grizzlies have become a perennial defensive stalwart in the NBA over the last few seasons, and are a very difficult team to handle in the FedEx Forum. When they are on offensively they are a very tough matchup for just about any team in the NBA. The addition of Matt Barnes in particular has given them a hardnosed defender on the wing opposite Tony Allen and makes it very difficult for opposing offenses to execute offensively.

10. Mike Conley, at least in this writer’s opinion, is arguably the most underrated player in the NBA today. He’s a floor general through and through, and is constantly putting his team in position to win games on both ends of the floor. Conley is particularly impressive on the offensive end of the floor with his ability to find open teammates and knock down big shots on the perimeter. Conley finished with 21 points and six assists on the night.

11. Add Jeff Green to the list of power forwards who has roasted the Mavs this season. With Zaza busy trying to slow down Marc Gasol, the Mavs just had no answer for Green’s athleticism. Green finished the game with 19 points and seven boards to go along with two blocked shots. (Our study of how this is unfolding in a way that demands Dallas protect Dirk as a defender is here.)

12. After posting eight points and six rebounds in just 11 minutes on Sunday night, JaVale McGee was absent from the lineup tonight. It stands to reason that Mavs trainer Casey Smith wants to ease McGee back into game shape, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise for him to get the DNP tonight.  And how much do we trust Casey? In this DB.com Premium report, coach Rick Carlisle calls Smith "The best trainer in the NBA, bar none.'' And we demonstrate why.

               

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13.  With McGee’s absence, Dwight Powell’s minutes increased, but he struggled to capitalize on the opportunity. Dwight was ice-cold from the floor, shooting just 16 percent and scoring two points in 21 minutes. Powell continues to rebound at a high level, but his shot hasn’t been there. With McGee beginning to see more time moving forward, Powell needs to assert himself or risk losing playing time. 

14. J.J. Barea was the Mavs only consistent scoring threat all night long, scoring 16 points on five of 10 shooting. It’s always nice to see J.J. play like this, but it’s not a good sign when he’s the best player in a game for Dallas. 

15. A rough third quarter caused the Mavs fall behind by as many as 25 points in the game. Memphis was able to find their stroke from the field to start the half, while the Mavs continued to struggle. It’s hard to win games when you can’t hit shots, but there were a lot more issues than shooting in this game for Dallas. 

16. It’s sad to say because unlike Kobe Bryant, I really admire this guy, but Vince Carter’s NBA shelf life has expired. VC used to be among the most electrifying player in the NBA. Now, he can barely get off the floor, and is an absolute liability on the defensive end. 

17. The Mavs shots began to fall in the fourth quarter, helping them reduce the Memphis lead to just 10 points with 6:02 left to go in the game. Unfortunately, it was just too little too late for the Mavs. 

Said Wes Matthews: “We were just a stop or two away from getting over that major hump. We got over the hump when we cut it from 20-something to 10. And if a shot drops for us, it’s a different game. But we shot ourselves in the foot.''

18. One positive note for Dallas is that they rectified their poor free-throw shooting from Sunday night against OKC, shooting 89 percent from the line. This is much more in line with how the Mavs normally shoot from the charity stripe, and it’s a positive step moving forward. 

19. In the end, poor shooting and bad defense doomed the Mavs from the start of the game, and they were never able to overcome it, falling to the Grizzlies 110-96. The Mavs, who are now 9-6 and have lost two straight, will have to head to San Antonio to try and get back on track and avoid dropping three in a row. 


Stat(s) of the night: Turnovers. The Mavs turned the ball over an uncharacteristic 19 times on Tuesday, with Memphis scoring 21 points off of those turnovers, and only turned it over eight times themselves. 

“We did a poor job of ball protection in the first half,” Carlisle said. “Twelve turnovers for 11 points. We did better in the second half, but we dug ourselves in too big a hole.”

This game was over when... Memphis went on a big run in the third quarter, stretching their lead out to 25 points with just over 11 minutes to play in the game. Raymond Felton was actually responsible for a too-little/too-late comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points.

Should have seen coming... Mike Conley. He’s an elite NBA point guard, and without a doubt the most underrated at the position in the league. 

Couldn't see coming... Deron Williams' rough night. D-Will has played exceptionally well in the last few games, and his play was trending upwards. D-Will got into early foul trouble here however, and couldn’t get in a rhythm. 

What's next?: The Mavs have a quick turnaround, as they head down to the River Walk tonight to face LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs at 730pm in the AT&T Center. 

               

                                 

The Final Word:  “We shot ourselves in the foot in the first half. We were playing catch-up the whole time. And against a good team like that, it’s kind of hard in their building. Those guys were hitting shots, they were being physical and most calls were going their way. And when you get down like that, it’s hard to come back against a good team, like Memphis.”


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