Coming into tonight, the Grizzlies had lost on Sunday to the Detroit Pistons at home, but the starters had only played a limited number of minutes. At this point, the Grizzlies aren’t moving up or down in playoff seeding, so a game like tonight’s is a chance to let the younger guys get some minutes. The Dallas Mavericks took this approach a step further by resting JJ Barea, Harrison Barnes, Wesley Matthews, and Dirk Nowitzki.
The Grizzlies started with their usual unit of Carter, Green, Gasol, Allen, and Conley. In the first quarter, Memphis jumped out to a 6 point lead early on, but then Tony Allen went down with a leg injury midway through the period and limped to the locker room (it was announced in the second quarter that he wouldn’t return). The Mavs made a small run after that, but a Troy Daniels’ three pointer gave Memphis a 5 point lead going into the second quarter (27-22). The Grizzlies and Mavericks each made 3 three pointers in the quarter. For Memphis, Mike Conley had 7 points in the period.
During the beginning of the second quarter, the score remained tight, but Memphis maintained the lead and eventually extended it to 10. While the Mavs cut that deficit in half, Memphis still led going into the third, 55-46. For Memphis, Conley had 15 points, and Marc Gasol had 11. Also, Randolph had 9 off the bench going into the third.
The Grizzlies have really been struggling offensively in third quarters lately, but tonight they maintained a firm lead for most of the period. One reason for this was that Memphis’ bench players really stepped up at times, such as Wayne Selden, who had 10 points on the night. Only with a couple minutes left in the third did Dallas start to make a comeback. They cut the deficit to 4 going into the fourth quarter, 74-70.
In the fourth quarter, Memphis’ starters sat the bench, and Dallas began to make things interesting again versus the Grizzlies’ second unit. Memphis’ lead was cut to 2, and then Dallas tied things up at 78. AJ Hammons gave Dallas the lead, and they led Memphis by 5 with 5:30 left in the match. With less than 2 minutes left, Memphis trailed by 4. The game ended in an uneventful manner, as the Mavericks further extended their lead and pulled out the win, 100-93.
For Memphis, Zach Randolph ended up with 15 points, and Mike Conley had 15 as well in 17 minutes of play. Also, Wade Baldwin racked up 9 points and 4 rebounds.
For the Mavericks, Devin Harris led the way with 15 points and 8 assists. Also, Nicolas Brussino had 15 points, and Dwight Powell had 12.
Now, the Grizzlies will have a few days of rest and preparation before facing the San Antonio Spurs. Beating the Spurs in the playoffs is a tall task, but the Grizzlies sure won’t go down without a fight.