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Stop the Bleeding: Role Players Help Dallas Mavs Win at Grizzlies

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-96 in a much-needed win.

Either "the sky is/was falling,'' or the Dallas Mavericks losing eight of their last 10 games going into Wednesday's 104-96 win at Memphis was the NBA embodiment of the "darkest before dawn'' idiom.

Following the close-call contest versus the Brooklyn Nets 24 hours previous, with Dallas sitting at a disappointing 11-12 record, it's pretty apparent a win might keep the sky in its place and speed up the dawn.

Beating a Memphis Grizzlies team entering on on a five-game winning streak would mean something ... and so it does, the Mavericks seeming to agree as to the importance of fixing some things.

"A lot of times, everybody wants to talk about X's and O's,'' said coach Jason Kidd, noting that halftime, he talked to the team about "pride and composure. Who is going to keep their composure?''

Two burning questions came to mind heading into Wednesday's contest, and continuing in the game as moods grew "testy,'' as Kidd called it

1) How will Luka Doncic, hopefully healthy enough, respond after his conditioning-related headline-making? 

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2) Will Kristaps Porzingis, hopefully healthy enough, continue his improved play on the road at the FexEx Forum?

Notably, two other guys - role players - were the ones who ignited the Mavericks offense and defense. But first, let's get to the stars of the team.

Foul trouble hindered the "Unicorn'' for most of the night. However, as professionals must, Porzingis found his rhythm in spite of the extended period on the bench. Despite registering a goose egg from deep in the first half, Porzingis finished with 19 points and also grabbed four rebounds. All helpful.

Doncic's conditioning woes are a problem, but there's another glaring issue: turnovers. No. 77 finished this game producing nine turnovers to seven assists, an upside-down numbers combo. Nevertheless, the Slovenian superstar finished with an efficient shooting performance with 26 points on 5-of-9 three-point shooting. 

Much has been said about the lack of support from role players, especially Reggie Bullock's shooting struggles. In what some will think of as a direct answer to "Mavs Twitter,'' the 3-and-D guard busted out for a season-best 15 points, including an outstanding 4-6 from distance.

Moses Brown also came through, although in a different fashion. Once the young center entered the game midway through the first quarter, the energy shifted. Fighting for boards, running the break, Brown continued his activity in the third quarter. The young-and-hungry big finished with seven rebounds, two blocks, and nine points, "Stathead'' noting that Brown becomes the first player this season to record nine-plus points, seven-plus rebounds and two-plus blocks in under 15 minutes.

Will the Mavericks' winning streak continue? Dallas, now 12-12, plays at the Indiana Pacers on Friday, with another meaningful wrinkle awaiting in the form of former Dallas boss Rick Carlisle in charge in Indy.

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