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VOL. 128 | NO. 42 | Friday, March 01, 2013

 

Grizz Showing Scrappiness as Final Stretch Awaits

By Don Wade

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Ever notice how the view from the winning and losing locker rooms is never the same, even though the teams played in the same game?

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, at FedExForum, the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks conspired, perhaps unwittingly, to set or match several season and franchise records (we’ll get to the numbers in a moment). But the shorthand for what happened is that the Mavericks won the first quarter, 38-19; the Grizzlies won the third quarter, 24-5; and ultimately Memphis overcame a 25-point first-half deficit to steal a 90-84 victory.

All of which could be explained, from the Dallas perspective, in a few words from Shawn Marion: “They punked our ass and took the game from us.”

Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol makes a shot over Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) and center Chris Kaman (35) in the second half of the Grizzlies’ 90-84 victory over the Mavericks.

Photo: (AP Photo/Lance Murphey) 

Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins had a different interpretation, saying that some players couldn’t get over their day off on Monday.

“We came back (Tuesday) and I had to get after them … because they didn’t come to work,” Hollins said. “Usually, when we have the day off, they come back and they work, but they didn’t work and then it faded into this game with this miserable practice we had. And it faded into the shootaround this morning and right into the game.”

At one point, Hollins pulled the whole first unit and he was less than impressed the Mavericks made all eight of their first-quarter shots from the paint.

“You could make all eight of your shots in the paint too if we didn’t guard you,” he said.

Tony Allen called the Grizzlies’ start “lackadaisical,” but said of the comeback: “We grinded back, got the lead, and it was a great team win.”

As for the aforementioned records:

• The Mavs’ five points in the third quarter was a Grizzlies franchise record (previously seven by Phoenix in 2006). It also tied the NBA low for this season.

• Overcoming the 25-point deficit matched a franchise record (the Grizz were down 25 before rallying to beat Portland in 2002).

• Their 24-0 run bridged over the second and third quarters was the most in team history.

• The win was their eighth straight, also tying a franchise mark and was the second eight-game run of the season.

• The Mavs’ 38 points in the first quarter tied the most allowed to an opponent this season.

How to explain all this from a team that through 56 games (38-18) allows the fewest points in the league (89.5), but is the NBA’s fourth-lowest scoring offense (93.3)?

“It says when we play the way we’re supposed to play, 25-point swings can happen,” said point guard Mike Conley.

It didn’t hurt that Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol scored 22 and 21 points, respectively. As the Mavs’ Vince Carter said: “When one big gets going it can set up the other big.”

The Grizz also out-rebounded Dallas, 46-34, but were getting killed on the glass in the first quarter, 15-7. During timeouts, Hollins said, “I reminded them how we got to be a good team” and he told the players they were being “outworked,” no doubt with some adjectives and adverbs applied for effect. It did the trick. Dirk Nowitzki scored just 10 points and went 0-for-3 from the floor in the fourth quarter as Gasol credited Randolph with “corralling” Nowitzki.

“We’re scrappy,” Randolph said. “It takes a toll on a team.”

Likewise, this loss would have hit the Grizzlies hard. They play seven of their next nine on the road, beginning at Miami Friday, March 1. To a man, the Grizzlies say they’re aware the schedule toughens but after the trades and adjusting to new rotations they just appreciate this win and every other.

“We’re enjoying the ride,” Conley said, “the new face of this team.”

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