After winning back-to-back blowout games against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, the Dallas Mavericks snapped back to reality in demoralizing fashion in a 133-104 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Coming off a game where he was ejected after playing just 22 minutes, Luka Doncic had one of his worst performances of the season, scoring just 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting from the field to go with five rebounds and five assists. Although Doncic could've done a better job in the energy department of this game, his struggles on the night were in large part due to the tenacious defense of Dillon Brooks, who finished with 22 points for Memphis.
Said Luka, who also sustained a nasty spill in the game and has a sore back to be monitored: “That game was obviously one of the worst I ever played."
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Mavs with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 shooting from deep. Hardaway Jr. became the first Maverick, and only the 22nd player in NBA history, to make 200 three-pointers in multiple seasons. Willie Cauley-Stein was the Mavs' second-leading scorer with a season-high 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field to go with eight rebounds.
With the loss, the Mavs fell back to the 6th seed in the Western Conference standings. Dallas and Portland share the same 40-29 record, but the Blazers own the tiebreaker, giving them the edge over the Mavs in the standings. The Mavs still have a 1.5 game lead, plus the tiebreaker, over the Lakers, who are currently duking it out with the Knicks. The Mavs "magic number" for avoiding the NBA's play-in tournament remains at two, meaning that any combination of Mavs' wins or Lakers' losses that equals two will lock Dallas into a top-six seed.
Was this performance the result of Mavs players thinking they’ve got it made? Said coach Rick Carlisle: “To the extent that guys on the team are feeling like we’ve got things made or whatever, I don’t know that. I certainly hope that’s not the case."
The Mavs don't have a lot of time to dwell on this embarrassing loss, as they now fly back home to Dallas to take on the Zion Williamson-less New Orleans Pelicans, who are holding on to play-in basketball hope by just a thread.
If all goes well, the Mavs could have Kristaps Porzingis return for this game. Porzingis has missed nine of the Mavs' last 10 games due to an ankle injury which eventually led to knee soreness.
With postseason basketball now just three games away, it'll be important for Porzingis to find his rhythm if Dallas has any real hopes of making a deep playoff push.
CONTINUE READING: Porzingis And Carlisle Offer Injury Update For Dallas Mavs