The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Memphis Grizzlies on the road Friday night, 112-85. Luka Doncic led Dallas with another triple-double, scoring 27, delivering 10 assists and grabbing 12 boards. Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 19.
The Mavericks played a sloppy opening quarter, turning the ball over six times, including four from Luka Doncic. That, coupled with a strong offensive rebound from Memphis, allowed the Grizzlies to take nine more shots in the first 12 minutes of action. Dallas fell behind Memphis after one, 29-25.
Dallas managed to tie the game at 37 just four minutes into the quarter, but the score then went cold for both teams for several minutes in the middle of the frame. The two teams only traded leads for Ja Morant to end the half with an explosive and-1. The Grizzlies took a 55-50 lead into the half.
After a rocky start, falling nine points, the Mavericks came back through quite spectacular defense and held Memphis to just 18 points. Dallas managed to take an 84-73 lead in the fourth. Then something really crazy happened: Instead of a fourth quarter comeback from Memphis, the Dallas defense kept the pincers and held the Grizzlies to just 12 points! They annihilated Memphis at both ends of the field and closed out a 112-85 win. See you tomorrow for the late home game against the Magic.
Now some thoughts
Writing about defense immediately during and after the game isn’t something I’m great at, but it’s the main reason the Mavericks were able to hang around until Luka Doncic became Thanos and destroyed the universe. Grizzly. They held Memphis to just 30 points in the second half!
I would try to write on it, but you really should click on Steve Jones’ thread here. Dallas commits to his base defense and as a result he doesn’t get frustratingly beaten. Sometimes teams take shots, which happens in professional basketball, but playing against a tired Memphis team (8 games in 12 nights) resulted in a massive victory powered by the defense.
Little things about D from Dallas. Pindown in a P&R and Dallas ends up changing. On the return to Ja they overtake, get out and help in practice. There is a solid base, activity but the ability to do the little things. pic.twitter.com/xRhkCYgHzx
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) January 15, 2022
“Everything about Luka Doncic bothers me at the moment,” a friend told me this morning. His thoughts were centered on the fact that Doncic’s speech sucked, because Luka is so good but our expectations sometimes go way beyond what is possible. I get the reasoning, we need Luka to be from another world and he’s been as human as someone with an average of 25-8-9 can be this season. Heck, even before the game, the terrible ESPN panel picked Ja Morant as the guy they would clearly start a basketball team with over Luka.
Then Luka came out and had four turnovers in the opening minutes. He finished the half with six and couldn’t hit a three-pointer to save his life (0 for 6 for the game!). I failed to mention, however, how he came out and scored 12 of 16 on two-point shooting, going towards his 27 points, while grabbing 12 rebounds and delivering 10 assists. He was a mastro, the undisputed best player in the game while sometimes looking like the best player in the league.
The performance of a master of his art.
The Mavericks scored 23 of their 112 points at the break and took advantage of a tired Memphis squad. Dallas should be pushing more frequently, as they’re currently 23rd, before tonight’s numbers are added.
I understand Doncic wants to control the pace, but he and Dallas are harder to deal with if he pushes things in real time, forcing defenses to make decisions on the fly. Besides, basketball is just more fun.
Here is our last episode of Mavs Moneyball after dark. If you are unable to see the embed below, click here to be redirected directly to the podcast. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search for Mavs Moneyball Podcast.