Dallas Mavericks‘ guard O.J. Mayo played the first four years of his career with the Memphis Grizzlies. He signed as free agent with the Mavericks in the offseason. He hoped to make a triumphant return to Memphis as the two teams met for the first time Friday night. It didn’t quite work out that way as the Grizzlies won their fourth straight game 92-82 to improve to 18-6 on the season. The Mavericks dropped to 12-15 on the season without forward Dirk Nowitzki who is recovering from knee surgery. The Grizzlies remain in first place in the Southwest Division, percentage points ahead of the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs beat the New Orleans Hornets 99-94 Friday night to improve to 20-8 on the season.
The Grizzlies jumped out to an early 16-4 lead against the Mavericks in the first 6 minutes of the game. Dallas would go on a 10-0 run to pull within 2 points at 16-14, but would never take the lead. In fact, the Mavericks wouldn’t score again for the rest of the quarter. Memphis would end the first quarter up 25-16.
In the second quarter though Dallas would come back. The Grizzlies would maintain between a 6 and 10 point lead for much of the quarter. Memphis took a 38-27 lead with just over 3 minutes to go in the quarter. However, the Mavericks closed the period on a 12-2 run to make it 40-39 at the half. Both teams shot under 40% in the half.
In the third quarter Dallas would tie it up at 47 and 49 but could never take the lead. After two Mayo free throws made it 49-49 with 9:15 left in the quarter, the Grizzlies then went on a 14-0 run to make it 63-49. The Grizzlies would expand their lead to 17 points with 1:55 left in the quarter and hold on for a 69-57 lead going into the fourth.
Dallas would pull within 5 twice in the fourth quarter at 71-66 and 76-71 and even made it 76-73 with 6:15 left in the game. However, they could never get over the hump and take the lead. Memphis expanded their lead to 84-73 with 4:37 left. Dallas would pull to within 5 points with 2:40 left. Mayo hit a three pointer with 1:42 left to make it 88-82, but the Mavericks would not score again for the rest of the game. Memphis would hold on for the 10 point win.
Dallas shot 40.8% from the field including 6/21 on three pointers. The Mavericks made 14 of 17 free throws. Dallas had 42 rebounds, 20 assists, 7 steals, 6 blocks, and 24 turnovers. The Mavericks had 12 fast break points and 42 points in the paint.
Dallas forward Shawn Marion had 14 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks. Guard Vince Carter had 14 points, 7 rebounds, an assist and 3 steals off the bench. Dominique Jones had 13 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, and a steal. Center Brandan Wright had 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Mayo had 10 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal.
Memphis shot 40.4% from the field, including 3/13 from 3 point range. The Grizzlies made 17 of 20 free throws. Memphis had 47 rebounds including 17 offensive, 23 assists, 15 assists, 3 blocks, and 15 turnovers. The Grizzlies had 17 fast break points and 48 points in the paint. Memphis scored 29 points off turnovers and 22 second chance points.
Forward Rudy Gay led all scorers with 26 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 assists. Forward Zach Randolph had 17 points, 13 rebounds, an assist and a steal. Center Marc Gasol had 11 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks and a steal. Guard Tony Allen had 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and an assist. Point guard Mike Conley Jr. had 9 points, 2 rebounds, 11 assists, and 4 steals.
Dallas never went away, despite trailing by double digits at various times in the game. The Grizzlies earned a hard fought win. Next up is a road game at Houston tomorrow night. Then the Grizzlies don’t play again until Wednesday, the day after Christmas.