How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks got overpowered at home by one of the NBA’s most physical teams.
The Memphis Grizzlies dominated the glass in the second half, allowing Memphis to overcome a slow start and come back to beat the Mavs. The Griz had a 28-16 rebounding advantage after halftime, when they trailed by eight points.
Memphis opened the second half with a 13-4 run to take their first lead of the game. The Grizzlies took the lead for good with a 13-4 run in the fourth quarter, when they held the Mavs without a field goal for a span of 3:41.
Dallas didn’t allow Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, one of the league’s elite center-power forward duos, to do much damage. Gasol had only six points and seven rebounds; Randolph had nine points and seven rebounds.
It was Memphis backup power forward Ed Davis (11 points, 11 rebounds) who made his presence felt during the critical stretch of the game. Davis, who arrived in Memphis as part of Rudy Gay midseason deal, had seven points and eight rebounds in the fourth quarter.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 15 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter, but he didn’t get enough help from his Mavs teammates in the final frame.
It was an especially tough night for O.J. Mayo, who had four turnovers and only two points against his former team and got benched midway through the fourth quarter.
What it means: The Mavs’ 12-year run of winning records is over. The best they can do is finish 41-41. They failed to go over .500 for the first time since they were 7-6 in November. The Grizzlies (55-26) picked up a critical win in their fight for homecourt advantage in the first round.
Play of the game: Vince Carter/Brandan Wright pick-and-rolls tend to make pretty highlights. Wright’s slam dunk early in the fourth quarter certainly fit the bill. The finish was nice, but Carter’s fastball bounce pass made it possible. Carter had to put zip on the ball to squeeze it through a tight window to Wright in the middle of the lane.
Stat of the night: Carter passed Clyde Drexler for 27th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with a reverse layup in the first quarter. Carter, who now has 22,214 career points after scoring 22 against the Grizzlies, has bumped four Hall of Famers down a spot this season, passing Hal Greer, Larry Bird, Gary Payton and Drexler. Elgin Baylor, Adrian Dantley and Robert Parish could be within Carter’s reach next season.