Brevity and directness often mark post-game assessments when the team you are trying to catch and pass for a playoff spot comes onto your home court and beats you solidly.
"They played good. We couldn't stop them," said the Grizzlies Zach Randolph after the Dallas Mavericks exited the FedExForum court with a 110-96 win Wednesday night. "They've got a great defensive team. They play well and they execute."
Randolph led the Grizzlies with 25 points. Late in the third quarter, however, Dallas seized a lead they would not relinquish partly by bringing Randolph under control in the paint. They maintained the lead going into the fourth quarter and led by as many as 17.
So much for this round of a playoff-spot showdown.
The Grizzlies have now lost two-in-a-row after falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder 77-86 on Monday (Feb. 3) on the road. Memphis (26-22) is now two games behind Dallas (29-21) for the eighth spot. For the Mavs, the win was the third against Memphis this season.
Courtney Lee continued his impressive play, scoring 22 points. James Johnson added 17 points off the bench and blocked his 15th three-pointer – tops in the NBA.
Nick Calathes stood in for the injured Mike Conley (sprained left ankle) for the third consecutive game. He scored 16 points and committed six turnovers.
"I know I turned the ball over a little too much," Calathes said. "We had a tough time playing defense in the pick and roll. I think it started in the third quarter. We didn't really come out as strong as we wanted to and they got some real easy buckets."
The Grizzlies shot 70 percent in the second quarter and finished the half at 62 percent, leading by five. Then came the troubling second half and a red-hot Dirk Nowitzki, who led all scorers with 26 points while grabbing six rebounds. Brandan Wright added 17 points off the bench.
Dallas and Memphis meet once more – April 16th, the last day of the regular season.
NOTE: Next up for the Grizzlies is a back-to-back road stint, beginning with a battle against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday followed by a stop in Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers on Sunday. The next home game is Feb. 11 when they face the Washington Wizards.