MEMPHIS – It’s very early in the season. But so far for the Dallas Mavericks, there’s no place like – the road?
Led by the brilliance of Luka Doncic, eight players scored in double-figures Saturday night and the Mavs cruised to a convincing g 138-122 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum before a crowd of 15,753. The win was the opener of a three-game road trip and ran the Mavs’ record on the road to a perfect 4-0.
The Mavs (6-3) will play in Boston on Monday, and will do so knowing that they were able to flush Friday’s 106-102 loss at home to the lowly New York Knicks out of their system with a solid performance against the Grizzlies.
Forward Justin Jackson said he doesn’t know if the Mavs are doing anything differently on the road than they are at home, where they sport a sub-par 2-3 record.
“It just comes down to little things just within the games that we lost,” Jackson said. “It’s just trying to focus in on that and taking that serious.”
The Mavs knew they had to get even more serious on Saturday because forward Kristaps Porzingis (injury recovery/left knee) wasn’t going to play, since this was the last end of Dallas’ first back-to-back of the season. That thrust Boban Marjanovic into the starting lineup, and he responded with nine points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.
“We just knew everybody had to step up,” Jackson said. “Obviously (Porzingis) had a huge game for us (against the Knicks), so we know when you take that out of the equation, everybody’s got to step up and contribute in some other ways, and I think everybody really did that tonight.”
Those contributions were so impactful that the Mavs already had 104 points after the third quarter,. And Doncic didn’t even play in the fourth quarter when the second unit took control and widened the gap.
Overall, the Mavs shot 53.6 percent from the field, distributed 27 assists and won the rebounding battle, 47-39. That rebounding battle was a high source of concern for coach Rick Carlisle coming into the game
“We had a lot of guys get involved, and the way they spread you out and drive you, you end up with a lot of your perimeter guys in and around the lane area,” Carlisle said. “We were able to score a lot of (the rebounds) from our perimeter positions, and if we can get 22-24 from the perimeter positions we’re going to have a chance to hang with anybody on the boards.
“It’s a huge number because it’s possessions of the ball. We obviously did better tonight, which is good.”
Besides Doncic, the Mavs got 20 points from Tim Hardaway Jr, 17 from Jackson, 16 from Seth Curry, 13 from Jalen Brusnon and 11 each from Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell.
“We needed a win, so that’s all that mattered,” said Doncic, who was 9-of-16 from the field. “We came back from a home game we lost to the Knicks, so we’re going to get better and we won the game.
“It was a great game, and we needed to bounced back. It was a team effort and we got a win.”
With Curry scoring 11 points and Doncic adding 10 points, grabbing seven rebounds and handing out five assists, the Mavs scored 31 points in the first quarter. Unfortunately, they allowed the Grizzlies to score 34 points in the first quarter one night after allowing the New York Knicks to score 36 points in the first quarter.
When the Mavs went ahead, 14-11, less than four minutes into the game, Curry was already 3-of-4 from 3-point range and in a nice little groove.
“He’s a shooter and he’s going to make those shots,” Doncic said. “We believe in him and if we keeps shooting those shots, he’s going to make them.”
Memphis led 34-31 after the first quarter, but the Mavs took control and carried a 68-62 lead into the dressing room at the half. The Mavs kept applying pressure in the third quarter, and the Grizzlies just didn’t have enough ammunition to overcome the things that came their way.
“We have a lot of guys who can contribute on any given night, and I think it showed tonight for sure,” Jackson said. “I think everybody was just really trying to play with each other and they were trying to get everybody involved, and it worked out well for us.”