Grit and Grind

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 15, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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I could easily be throwing dirt over Oklahoma City’s coffin way too soon, but history suggests they’re set up for evitable doom as they now the Memphis Grizzlies 3-1. Teams that have been in Oklahoma City’s spot are only 2-32 in their previous series, 1-8 in the conference semifinals. Looking at the potential opponents for Memphis, Golden State and San Antonio, you still have to lean towards Memphis as being the favorites. Would the league be thrilled to see Memphis in the Finals? Probably not, but that’s not the point.

The Memphis Grizzlies being favorites to make a trip the NBA Finals? That’s crazy talk. Yes, a Russell Westbrook injury certainly changed the equation in the Western Conference, but Memphis isn’t necessarily taking advantage of the situation. It’s just a case where Oklahoma City has been exposed as a team that actually needs Westbrook and that they more guys who would be willing to give half the effort or production that Kevin Durant is giving in this series.

Back to the point, Memphis looks primed to make a serious run. It’s not a popular opinion, but I have enjoyed watching them play. Prior to matchups against Memphis, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has always mentioned that the Grizzlies play a “playoff style of basketball.” How does Dallas, or the rest of the league, look at this and do they adapt?

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Quoteboard: Memphis Grizzlies 103, Dallas Mavericks 97

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 15, 2013 under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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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.

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Setting the Table: Memphis Grizzlies (Game 81)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on under Previews | Read the First Comment

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You would have to think the Dallas Mavericks (40-40) will be lighter and faster as they take on the Memphis Grizzlies (54-26). With the victory against the New Orleans Hornets, the Mavericks were finally able to get back to .500, the first time they were there since they were 11-11 on Dec. 12. Dallas ended their road season with a record of 17-24 and now look to ensure they don’t finish the season with a losing record with two final home games. Winning seven of their last nine games, Memphis is still playing for playoff positioning as they still have a chance to have homecourt advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Grizzlies.

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Setting the Table: Memphis Grizzlies (Game 57)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 27, 2013 under Previews | Read the First Comment

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The hits just keep on coming for the Dallas Mavericks (25-31) as they take on the Memphis Grizzlies (37-18) just 20 or so hours after facing the Milwaukee Bucks. The Grizzlies have had two days off to prepare for their game against the Mavericks. It will be the second night of a back-to-back for the Mavericks, a situation that hasn’t been too incredibly kind for them this year. With the loss to the Bucks, the Mavericks are 2-10 in the first half of a back-to-back and 4-7 in the second half of a back-to-back this season. The Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs in 2012-13, with only one stretch of four games in five nights. In total, 10 back-to-backs are on the road, three begin at home and conclude on the road and three are road-to-home. Dallas played 22 back-to-backs in 2011-12, going 7-15 in the first half and 13-9 in the second half of those back-to-backs.

They’re going up against a Memphis squad that has their act together. The Grizzlies have won eight of the last 10 games, including the last seven‐in‐a‐row, since acquiring Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Ed Davis in a three‐team trade that sent Rudy Gay from Memphis to Toronto and Jose Calderon from Toronto to Detroit on Jan. 30. Memphis’ current seven‐game winning streak is the team’s longest since a franchise‐record tying eight‐game winning streak earlier this season (Nov. 2 through the 17). It is the longest active winning streak in the Western Conference and the second‐longest active streak in the NBA (Miami).

The road can be a lonely place, and the Mavericks are now on the road for seven of their next eight games. With the playoffs looking bleak, this very well could be the final march for the Mavericks.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Grizzlies.

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Run It Back?

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on January 25, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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It’s funny how timing can work. Earlier in the week, grades were given out for the Mavericks and Delonte West was mentioned. West didn’t get a grade due to not playing a single game during the regular season. He was waived after being suspended twice in the month of October for conduct detrimental to the team. The timing was funny as the mock grades came out just a day before news surfaced that had West popping back up on the radar.

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported that the former Maverick has entered the D-League’s player pool. It appears West had or still could have a path that puts him directly back into the NBA via the Memphis Grizzlies and a 10-day contract. While the offer hasn’t officially been made, a source close to West told Jeff “Skin” Wade of the Ben and Skin Show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM that West would prefer to take a chance through the Texas Legends, the D-League affiliate for the Mavericks, in order to have a chance to land back with his former team. That’s an awfully bold stance to take if all things are equal, but every man is entitled to take their own path.

Looking from the outside, there’s quite a bit to examine when looking at the prospects of bringing Delonte West back into the mix. Let’s look at the pros and the cons.

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Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 104, Memphis Grizzlies 83

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on January 13, 2013 under Interviews | Read the First Comment

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Don’t look now, but the Dallas Mavericks are on a winning streak. They defeated the Memphis Grizzlies in convincing fashion, 104-83. The Mavericks have now won consecutive games for the first time since they won three in row from Dec. 6 through Dec. 10. Dallas used a 34-13 outburst from the 5:04 mark of the first quarter through the 6:14 mark of the second period to turn a three-point deficit, 14-11, into an 18-point advantage, 45-27. The Mavericks defeated the Grizzlies by 21 points on Saturday. It was the Grizzlies’ second-largest margin of defeat this season, lost by 25, 121-96, at Houston Dec. 22. Dallas scored 104 points in the win over Memphis on Saturday. It marked just the third time this season that Memphis has allowed 100-plus points in a game.

Shawn Marion scored a season-high 20 points to go along with four rebounds in 26 minutes vs. Memphis. He put up a season-high point total for the second consecutive game, 19 at Sacramento. Prior to the game at Sacramento on Jan. 10, the most he had scored in a game this season was 18 at Chicago on Nov. 28.

Dallas tied a season-low with nine turnovers against the Grizzlies (9 on three other occasions). The Mavericks have recorded 13-or-fewer turnovers in eight of their last 10 games. The Mavericks outscored the Grizzlies 54-39 in the opening half. The 39 points were the fewest Dallas has allowed in the first half of a game this season, previous low was 40 on two occasions: at Memphis Dec. 21 and vs. New Orleans Jan. 5. Memphis managed 40 first-half points in the meeting with Dallas earlier this season, Dec. 21.

Here is the quoteboard for the impressive victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

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Setting the Table: Memphis Grizzlies (Game 38)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on January 12, 2013 under Previews | Read the First Comment

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Off their first overtime win in 11 tries, the Dallas Mavericks (14-23) finally head home to take on the Memphis Grizzlies (24-10). Dallas is looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since they won three in a row between Dec. 6 – Dec. 10, 2012. Expect a physical, grind-it-out type of game between the Mavericks and the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies will look to impose their will with their physical big men, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Memphis is second in the entire league in terms of points allowed, have the third slowest pace and they’re tied for second-best in terms of rebound differential.

Whether it’s a good thing or not, Memphis does come in on a the second night of a back-to-back after hard fought overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs at home. It remains to be seen if the Grizzles will have the legs to tackle another game as all five starters for Memphis played between 37 and 43 minutes against San Antonio.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Grizzlies.

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Setting the Table: Memphis Grizzlies (Game 27)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 21, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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There will be a reunion as the Dallas Mavericks (12-14) face off against the Memphis Grizzlies (17-6). As an opponent, O.J. Mayo returns to Memphis. It will be very interesting to see Mayo responds to the situation. He’s definitely aware that the game is a situation where he wants to do well and his former team wants to do well. The Memphis Grizzlies have started the season 17‐6, the best start in franchise history. Memphis has accomplished this despite playing the league’s seventh‐most difficult schedule, win percentage of .526, thus far. Memphis has been nearly unbeatable at home, winning 22 of its last 24 games at FedExForum, highlighted by a franchise‐record 15‐game home winning streak from 3/18 through 11/16 of 2012.

This will be the second night of a back-to-back for the Mavericks. The Mavericks are 1-6 in the first half of a back-to-back and 2-4 in the second half of a back-to-back this season. The Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs in 2012-13, with only one stretch of four games in five nights. In total, 10 back-to-backs are on the road, three begin at home and conclude on the road and three are road-to-home. Dallas played 22 back-to-backs in 2011-12, going 7-15 in the first half and 13-9 in the second half of those back-to-backs.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Grizzlies.

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