RECAP: Mavericks turn up the defense, stop Grizzlies

Feb 22, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein (33) block a shot by Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson (1) during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks put eight days’ worth of stored energy into one of their best defensive performances of the season Monday night, limiting the visiting Memphis Grizzlies to their second-lowest season point total in a 102-92 victory.

Tim Hardaway Jr. came off the bench to score a game-high 29 points as the Mavericks, who hadn’t played since Valentine’s Day because of two weather-related postponements, won for the fifth time in their past six games.

Ja Morant had a team-high 22 points and game-high nine assists for the Grizzlies, who were playing for the third time in four nights. The loss was their second straight.

Facing their Southwest Division rival for the first time this season, the Mavericks held the Grizzlies to two points in the first 5 1/2 minutes, built an early double-digit lead and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.

Memphis shot just 39.4 percent for the game and finished with 92 points, just two more than they’d scored in their season-low on Jan. 7 against Cleveland. Memphis also totaled 92 in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 5.

The 92 points allowed were the third-fewest this season by the Mavericks.

Hardaway’s point total was mostly the product of 7-for-11 shooting on 3-pointers. Every other player in the game combined for 14-for-61 from beyond the arc, with the Grizzlies finishing at 19.4 percent (6-for-31).

Luka Doncic chipped in with 21 points for the Mavericks, who were last seen losing 121-118 at home to Portland. Jalen Brunson added 19 and Josh Richardson 17.

Desmond Bane totaled 12 points, Brandon Clarke and Jonas Valanciunas 11 apiece and Tyus Jones 10 for Memphis, which lost its second straight.

Valanciunas also found time for a game-high 15 rebounds to complete a double-double.

Dallas hadn’t played in more than a week, but it was Memphis that came out rusty. Only two starters scored in the first half — six points apiece by Morant and Valanciunas — as the Grizzlies shot 34.8 percent and fell behind 54-36.

Hardaway had 20 of his 29 points in the half, during which the Mavericks led by as many as 23 points at 48-25 just past the midpoint of the second quarter.

–Field Level Media