The fans at FedEx Forum welcomed Grizzlies-ex O.J. Mayo back to Memphis with a standing ovation before Friday’s game.
“It was cool,” Mayo said. “I had a lot of great times here and great experiences.”
There weren’t any great times for Mayo after the warm greeting in this visit to Memphis.
It was a rough night for Mayo, who has been the biggest bright spot in the Mavs’ season. The Grizzlies held him to 10 points, half his average. He had more turnovers (five) than field goals (three, on 11 attempts) and didn’t get a bucket until the 4:24 mark of the third quarter.
The Grizzlies followed the recent trend of trapping Mayo to force the ball out of his hands as often as possible. Plus, shutdown defender Tony Allen acknowledged preparing for his former teammates “as if he was a Kobe or LeBron” because Mayo had been so effectively explosive this season.
“They know my tendencies,” Mayo said. “It was pretty much O.J. was not getting anything, and guys had to get other guys to make some plays.”
It was an especially brutal back-to-back for Mayo. He scored only 18 points on 6-of-25 shooting in the losses to the Heat and Grizzlies.
A few more notes from the Mavs’ fifth loss in six games:
1. Go DoJo: Derek Fisher didn’t make the trip due to a strained patellar tendon in his right knee and Darren Collison left the game due to illness, leaving Dominique Jones as the Mavs’ primary point guard.
Jones, who has been playing well recently, responded with his most productive performance of his career. He set a career high with 13 points and matched his one-day-old career high with seven assists.
“I liked the way he played,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He played with a lot of force. We were down, whatever it was, early, he came in and helped us change the game with a physical presence and he was attacking. He did a lot of good things and continues to build on positive efforts.”
2. Wright fights: Tennessee native Brandan Wright played despite a sprained right ankle that sidelined him Thursday night against the Heat.
Wright contributed 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, five rebounds and two blocks in 26 minutes off the bench. He was clearly limping after coming down awkwardly on his right foot in the fourth quarter, but he finished the game.
With Wright available, Carlisle opted not to play rookie center Bernard James, an interesting decision considering that James’ 12-point, nine-rebound, three-block performance might have been the only bright spot in Thursday’s blowout loss.
3. Moral victory?: The Mavs never led in Memphis. But Carlisle took pride in the fact that his team fought hard against a superior foe, which could be considered a sign of how much the standards have dropped for Dallas.
“I was very pleased,” Carlisle said. “We were undermanned, coming off of a late night back-to-back. The guys really hung in and gave what they could give. I was really happy with how everybody fought. There’s not much consolation when you lose, but the effort was good.”