Monday's AAC result: Dallas Mavericks 102, Memphis Grizzlies 92 ... and we've got Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: LUKA GETS DOWN Luka Doncic shot worse from the free-throw line (2 of 9) than the 3-point line (3 of 10). And his franchise-record streak of 14 consecutive games scoring at least 25 points was snuffed with a modest 14-point performance.
Thus concludes the only hints of negative vibes in a near-perfect Monday night in American Airlines Center.
DONUT 2: J-RICH SPARKS In a listless game that resembled your dad’s old lawn mower that would just never quite crank, Dallas’ Josh Richardson provided the gas early. He scored 11 of the Mavs’ 15 points to drag his team out of a seven-day layoff.
“We wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Richardson said. “But when that first wind came – getting back in game shape – it was tough. Once we got through that wall things went pretty smooth. We’re competing a lot better.”
DONUT 3: KP UPDATE No Porzingis, no problem.
With Kristaps sitting out with back stiffness, Dwight Powell took his spot in the starting lineup but it was Tim Hardaway Jr. that took up the slack with 29 points. We are on the verge of March and Porzingis, for what it’s worth, has played in only 58 percent (17 of 29) of the Mavs’ games.
Which leads us to ... KP trade talk.
Worth noting: Mavs owner Mark Cuban will surely deny the existence of any Porzingis "fire'' under this "smoke.'' As he should ... whether it's fire or not.
DONUT 4: GREEN IS MONEY For my money, the green vintage uniforms playing on a court adorned by founding father Don Carter’s original logo needs to stay.
DONUT 5: BABY STEPS For the first time this season, Mavs’ season-ticket holders were allowed to attend a game inside AAC. Small, safe steps. The Mavs are now 1-0 playing in front of their most loyal fans.
DONUT 6: CUBAN BOMBS Two hours before tip-off, there was a guy shooting on the court all by himself. Goes by the name of Mark Cuban.
You get the feeling that’s one of his favorite perks of being an NBA owner, though, as he later noted on Twitter, "That was about the only one I made tonight.''
DONUT 7: NO REST With a back-to-back game against the Celtics looming Tuesday night, not sure why Rick Carlisle didn’t let Doncic rest the game’s final 5:57.
Instead, Doncic re-entered with 3:06 remaining and the Mavs in total control, 97-82.
The coming Tuesday challenge will help us judge the decision.
DONUT 8: THE ELIXIR The Grizzlies entered as the No. 1 team in the league on second-chance points off offensive rebounds. They grabbed 13, but hard to remember a big basket as a result of their effort.
For a Mavs team that hadn’t played since waaaaay back when Damian Lillard stabbed them in the heart with a late, long 3-pointer on Valentine’s, the de-clawed Grizzlies were the perfect elixir.
DONUT 9: LUKA GETS UP We already know Doncic can do everything on the court.
Here, he reminded us he has the size, the strength – the courage – to block Grizzlies’ 7-footer Jonas Valanciunas.
DONUT 10: .500 CLIMB In this crazy, COVID season, Mavs are ending a stretch playing 10 of 11 at home. Ten of 11. That just doesn’t happen in the NBA. Have they taken advantage?
Well, um, sorta.
They’re 6-4 entering the capper against Boston, with a chance to get back to .500 for the first time since they were 8-8 back on January 23.
DONUT 11: MIRACLE! On the 41st anniversary of the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team’s “Miracle on Ice” the Mavs … oh, who are we kidding?
This was a bad basketball game camouflaged as a good result.
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD In hindsight, it ended as soon as it started. The Mavs led 5-0, 12-2, 18-5 and – after a four-point play by Hardaway Jr. – 24-9. The Grizzlies missed 13 of their first 15 points, scored a season-low 62 points through three quarters and looked every bit like a weary team playing its third game in four nights.
The Mavs, who led by 10+ points over the game’s final 43:27, were obviously fresher and, on this night, decidedly better.
Oh, and Carlisle says ... angrier.
“We needed to win a game,” coach Carlisle said. “We had to sit on (Dallas' last loss) for eight days. We came out and we played an angry game, particularly defensively.”