Preview: Mavs slide to Memphis to begin three-game road trip
Preview: Mavericks (25-31) at Grizzlies (37-18)
Mavs slide to Memphis to begin three-game road trip
MEMPHIS — After failing to capitalize off of 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki’s best two games of the season, things don’t get any easier for the Dallas Mavericks as they begin their three-game road trip.
Looking to bring an end to the Memphis Grizzlies' seven-game winning streak while taking the court at FedEx Forum in need of a win on the second night of a back-to-back, the Mavericks (25-31) will attempt to bounce back after Tuesday’s 95-90 home loss to Milwaukee. The Mavs will also try to spit out the sour taste of consecutive defeats in monster games by Nowitzki, following up his season-high 30 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday’s 103-99 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers with a 21-point, 20-rebound effort two nights later.
And after the Mavs continued a season-long trend of failing to execute down the stretch of close games, the Dallas team will go in search of a win to begin its road trip while trying to improve to 2-1 in the season series against the Grizzlies (37-18).
“For some reason we just can’t get the stops that we need or a big basket at the end,” Nowitzki explained after Tuesday's loss. “I mean, we’ve been in so many close games and just make too many mistakes. … It seems like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. It’s been frustrating. It’s not only this game, it’s been so many close games all season long that we felt like we should have won if we execute better down the stretch. And for some reason we can’t.”
“It is a collective thing,” four-time All-Star Shawn Marion added. “Dirk has had two great games, but we haven’t won. We all have to find ways to figure out better ways to win these games.”
Tuesday night, the Mavericks’ 20 turnovers for 19 Milwaukee points proved to be their eventual demise, overshadowing Dallas’ 56-39 rebounding edge and a 52-30 margin in points in the paint. The miscues also wasted away Nowitzki’s s first 20-point, 20-rebound night since April 3, 2003.
“It’s disappointing, and Dirk played great,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “You know, 21 and 20, and some of the shots he hit were extremely difficult. But there’s always going to come a point in the game where other guys around him are going to have to step up. They’re going to have to make simple plays and they’re going to have to knock down shots, because in this league you can take away one guy and you can make it that hard on him, and then there’s going to be other openings. We were unable to do that. There were opportunities, and it’s a make-or-miss league sometimes. And tonight there were too many misses and too many miscues. You can’t have 20 turnovers against this team for 19 points and expect not to be leaving something to chance. It’s as simple as that.”
Now, the Mavs head into the Grizzlies' home gym seeking retribution for a 92-82 loss in leading scorer O.J. Mayo’s return to Memphis on Dec. 21, when the sharpshooter finished just 3 for 11 from the floor for 10 points in his first meeting against his former team. And with Mayo looking to redeem himself after leading the Mavs with five turnovers Tuesday night to take attention away from his 18 points, the former Rookie of the Year runner-up will try to make his second return trip to Memphis a successful one.
“Turnovers obvious hurt us,” Mayo said while looking back to Tuesday’s loss. “I led us in turnovers, so I’ve got to be better in that department. … Obviously, we’ve got to definitely be better on the road than we have been, and we’re capable of doing that. We’ve got to go out there and get the wins.”
Note: The Mavs head out on a three-game road trip, touching down in Memphis on the second night of a back-to-back for Wednesday’s matchup against the Grizzlies. The two teams are tied at 1-1 in the season series after both collected a home win earlier in the year. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7 p.m. CT.
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