DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks are back and better (at least defensively). After eight days of severe Texas weather-induced rest, the Dallas Mavericks beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 102-92 on Monday night at the AAC.
“We needed to win a game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We had to sit on (Dallas' last loss) for eight days. We came out and we played an angry game, particularly defensively.”
With the extra time off, the Mavs utilized valuable practice time to work on communication and their 27th-ranked defense ... And that practiced paid off. The Mavs held the Grizzlies to 13 first-quarter points, tying a season-low. At the end of the first half, Memphis had zero second-chance points, zero fast-break points, zero points off turnovers, and only 36 points.
Josh Richardson and Tim Hardaway Jr. delighted the small group of fans at American Airlines Center, lighting up the offense from beyond-the-arc, combining to shoot 8-of-10 three-pointers in the first half. Hardaway Jr finished leading the team with 29 points and Richardson with 17 points. Jalen Brunson also scored in double-digits off the bench, totaling 19 points.
Uncharacteristically, Luka Doncic scored only seven points in the first half. His slow start included missing his first six free throws before throwing his hands up gratefully when his made his seventh free throw. Doncic had scored 25 or more points in 14 straight games, a franchise record that came to an end tonight. The All-Star starter finished with 21 points.
Center Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out before the game with "back stiffness," according to coach Rick Carlisle. Porzingis' back has been an issue he's been dealing with this whole season. ... and now there is trade gossip to deal with as well.
Another injury update, Maxi Kleber left the game with an ankle sprain in the fourth quarter and did not return. (We'll have an update on Maxi later on Tuesday.)
The Mavs held the Grizzlies to 39 percent shooting from the field and Ja Morant to 21 points.
Dallas (14-15) is now only one game away from .500. The Mavs have won six of their last eight games with their homestand coming to an end on Tuesday. Next up, the Mavs host the Boston Celtics on the second night of a back-to-back in an early 6:30 p.m. CT tipoff.
And everybody figures to be "angry.''
“It’s all about being able to sustain,'' Carlisle said. "Boston coming in here, second night of a back-to-back at home. They’re an angry team. They lost a pretty substantial lead in New Orleans, so we’ll get their best game and it’ll be a good test for us.”