For much of three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, the Memphis Grizzlies had a head case before self-correcting in the final quarter and nudging ahead for a 112-108 win at FedExForum.
“I thought we were sloppy; we weren’t fully engaged,” said Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins. “Our heads weren’t in the right places in the first three quarters, and you can see a 16-point lead grow through that.”
Down by 16 points with eight seconds to go in the third, Desmond Bane hit a triple as the Grizzlies (44-27) wobbled into the fourth quarter. Jenkins turned to a lineup of Tyus Jones, John Konchar, Luke Kennard, David Roddy and Santi Aldama, with Jones the only one to have started the game.
With about 11:50 to go, a driving Roddy found Konchar in the corner for a three-pointer, which Jenkins called “a big-time play.” That pulled the Grizzlies within 10 and victory within range.
“It’s just kudos to our guys,” Jenkins said of the win. “I mean, I love the group that started off the fourth quarter.”
Memphis outscored the Mavericks 29 to 12 in the fourth quarter. Aldama had 22 points and 14 rebounds in the game and Roddy scored all of his 10 points in the decisive last frame.
“(Dallas) played really hard, and we knew that they were going to play really hard,” said Aldama. “We struggled a little bit to find a rhythm, especially in the third, but in the fourth, we were like, ‘Well, we’re down. We’ve been here before. We just got to pull it off.’ We moved the ball really well, and I think we just played really hard, and we got the win.”
Jones (16 points, 6 assists) pointed to the team’s “competitive nature. We have a lot of competitive guys in our locker room. A lot of guys that hate losing. We are going to fight and continue to compete until the final buzzer. We have had games where we were fighting and clawed our way back into the game.”
The Mavericks again played without All-Star Luka Doncic, who has been out for several games with a thigh injury. They were led in scoring by in-season, All-Star acquisition Kyrie Irving, who scored 28 points. Irving scored 11 of Dallas’ first 21 points.
Dallas head coach Jason Kidd addressed Dallas’ fourth-quarter demise.
“I think it’s a combination (of depth and missed shots). We had great looks. (Kyrie Irving) goes 0-7 or 0-8. He had great looks. It just didn’t go down.
“Defensively, they (the Grizzlies) got some offensive rebounds we didn’t come up with. We have to be better, but we put ourselves (in position) … to win … on the road against a very talented team. Twelve points in the fourth is not going to help the cause. We’ve got to just be better on the offensive.”
Memphis led by two points (30-28) at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Mavericks went on a 10-2 run and led 49-41 with 5:32 left in the first half. The run was aided by a flagrant-one foul by Jaren Jackson Jr. on a three-point attempt by Christian Wood (20 points). Wood made 2 of 3 free throws and a couple of possessions later Jackson got a technical foul that led to another three points by the Mavericks.
Dallas led 60-57 at the half.
The Grizzlies, who have fared well in third quarters this season, lost ground to the Mavericks, getting outscored by 10 (36-26) in the third.
With 7:26 left in the third quarter, Memphis’ Dillion Brooks (9 points, 4 rebounds) picked up his 18th technical foul of the season, earning him a one-game suspension. Not much later, Jackson picked up two quick fouls and went to the bench with five fouls with more than a quarter and a half to play. Dallas led 76-67 at that point and was on its way to the 16-point lead.
Memphis had recent memory to draw upon in overcoming the deficit. On March 10, they trailed the Mavericks by 11 points heading into the fourth quarter and pulled that one out.
After sitting on the bench for over 13 minutes, Jackson returned and in less than 30 seconds he gave the Grizzlies their first lead of the second half (104-103) with 4:06 to go. They never trailed again. Jackson led all Memphis scorers with 28 points (4 rebounds).
Jaden Hardy also had 20 points for the Mavericks.
Memphis has the best home record in the NBA (30-5). They host the Houston Rockets on Wednesday (March 22) and again on Friday (March 24). Both games tip off at 7 p.m. CDT.