Just one night after getting to shave their beards, the Dallas Mavericks ensured they will not have a winning season by suffering a 103-97 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis used a 9-0 run from the 8:02 mark of the fourth quarter through the 6:41 mark of the period to turn a one-point deficit, 78-77, into an eight-point advantage, 86-78. The Grizzlies then led for the remainder of the contest.
Dirk Nowitzki tallied a game-high 26 points in 36 minutes against the Grizzlies. He scored 20-plus points for the third time in his last four games (19th time this season). Nowitzki is averaging 22.0 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting over his last four games.
Vince Carter totaled 22 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes against the Grizzlies. With a reverse layup at the 3:30 mark of the first quarter, Carter passed Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 27th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The basket gave him five points for the game and 22,197 points for his career. Carter finished with 22 points on the night and now has 22,214 points for his career. Elgin Baylor ranks 26th all-time in career scoring with 23,149 points.
O.J. Mayo once again struggled against his former team. Mayo went 1-of-6 from the floor for only two points. He had four turnovers in the game. After seeing enough, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle emphatically called a timeout and benched Mayo for the remainder of the game. Mayo did not want to speak to anyone after the loss. He dressed and left the locker room by the time the media was allowed to enter.
Some notes before the quotes:
- Vince Carter scored 20-plus points for the second time in his last three games (12th time this season). Carter is averaging 20.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.7 blocks and 30.3 minutes over his last three games. He has shot 55 percent (22-of-40) from the field and 60 percent (9-of-15) from deep over his last three contests.
- With the loss, Dallas was unsuccessful at sweeping a back-to-back this season.
- Memphis’ 64 points off the bench is a new opponent-high. The previous high mark was 63 by Washington on Nov. 14.
- Against his former team, O.J. Mayo averaged 8.5 points on 35.1 percent shooting from the field, 30 percent from 3 and 3.8 turnovers this year.
Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ befuddling loss to Memphis.
On if it was just a matter of Memphis imposing their will in the second half: “They made a lot more plays than we did and we made a lot of mistakes. We had some guys that didn’t show, literally, and just didn’t compete for us the way we needed them to compete. It’s just really disappointing.”
On benching O.J. Mayo in the fourth quarter and what was up with his performance: “I don’t know. You should probably ask him. I’m not sure, he wasn’t into it the first half. We showed him some film at halftime where he was virtually just standing around defensively. We said, ‘Hey, we need you’ – tried to get him going a little bit. He just had a bad night; I guess I will write it off to that. But I will tell you what, if I was playing against my former team, I’d come out ready to go at them. But that’s me.”
On if Mayo’s bad nights come too frequently: “Well, the good news is there’s only an opportunity for one more. I just want to see him show up and compete. He didn’t compete tonight. With all the time that we have put into helping him develop and bringing him along, for him, in the biggest game of the year, an opportunity to be a winning team, for him to show up like he did tonight I was shocked. Sometimes guys have bad nights so make sure and put that in there, too.”
Has he been one of the more frustrating players to coach? “I’ve avoided the use of the word frustration. I’m all about enthusiasm this year, really. I’ve been very consistent with that. If you’re not going to compete, don’t show (up) at all. We’ve got one left. We’ve got a chance to avoid a losing record and that’s significant.”
How disappointing is it that a winning season is now out of the equation? “Here is where I am with it. All year long, we’ve all wanted our guys to do well. I know (Dirk) Nowitzki is going to compete on every possession. I know that (Shawn) Marion, (Vince) Carter and (Elton) Brand, those guys are going to show. That’s what they’ve done for a lot of years. Beyond that, (everyone else has) got to want it as much as everybody else wants it for them. That’s been the issue. Some of our younger guys have had an opportunity to sit at the grown-ups table this year and see what it’s like to take on more responsibility. It can be a daunting thing. A lot of guys say they want it. If they want it there’s got to be more presence. A guy can have a bad shooting night but he can still have a great presence in a game. That’s what this franchise is looking for. That’s what this organization is looking for.”
Summing it up: “We had some guys who had a tough night tonight. That’s the way it goes. I’m just disappointed for our fans. I’m disappointed for my owner. I’m disappointed for our vets … I’m disappointed, but I’ll get over it … Whoever goes on that court (in the finale) better compete.”
On Mayo: “We’re talking about a guy that leads our team in minutes played. We’re very dependent on him and have ridden through a lot of stretches where he hasn’t played his best. There’s other times he’s played great. This is part of the learning experience for him. To be honest, this is part of the learning experience for me.”
His performance as a coach tonight: “I stunk, too. I’ll readily admit that, and I’ve been admitting it all year. But I’m passionate about not wanting to stink. That’s where I have trouble reconciling things.”
On the transition in the second half: “I don’t think we competed hard enough.”
The difference: “That third quarter, we gave them life. They played hard.”
On if it is hollow to accomplish his milestone in a loss: “Always. When you accomplish something like that and you don’t pull out the win, it’s always tough. I’m very thankful for the milestone. It’s amazing when you just think of the names that you passed … It’s just like, wow. It’s very humbling and thankful for the opportunity.”
On some players having an off night against Memphis: “Sometimes your mind can wander. For us, we’ve just got to keep playing and set the example. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
On a winning season being out of the equation: “It’s tough. Fifty percent isn’t bad, either. It’s not losing. I’m definitely going to go out there and try to get us a win and to accomplish that.”
Summing it up: “It was a tough loss. It seemed like we weren’t really ready to play there in the second half … I feel like we should have competed a lot better in the second half.”
It’s rare for Rick Carlisle to call out a player like he did Mayo. As a team leader, what did you see in his performance? “I don’t know. You’ve got to ask OJ. There are some nights where your jumpers not going. We all go through it. You have to compete and play hard on both ends of the floor, impact the game on other levels. That’s all I can really say about it.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.