All good streaks must end and the Memphis Grizzlies saw all of their streaks end Wednesday at FedExForum.
For the first time in six games, they trailed at some point. The Dallas Mavericks leading after the first quarter also stopped the Grizzlies’ streak of ending 20 consecutive quarters with a lead.
When the Mavericks finished off a 104-96 win, it ended the Grizzlies’ five game winning streak. A streak that relied on defense and balance crashed in a rash of technical fouls.
Dillon Brooks being ejected with 27.5 seconds left may have drawn cheers from frustrated Grizzlies fans but it embodied a rough night all around. Here’s what we learned.
Return to Deficit
The Grizzlies (14-11) fell behind 3-2 after a free throw by Kristaps Porzingis with 10:56 remaining in the first quarter. That ended a stretch since Nov. 28 where the Grizzlies led for 238:20 of game time and were tied for just 2:48.
The Grizzlies led for nearly all of the second quarter but a 11-2 third quarter run put the Maverick (12-12) ahead 63-60. Things were back-and-forth from there with several lead changes but the Grizzlies never led in the fourth quarter.
Further insult came with technical fouls called on Brooks, Steven Adams and coach Taylor Jenkins in the final period. The Grizzlies unraveled in front of their fans and despite anger over several non-calls, losing their composure didn’t make the winning streak end any easier.
JACKSON DEFENSE: How Jaren Jackson Jr.’s improving defense has helped Grizzlies during 5-game win streak
GIANNOTTO: What the fear and relief of Ja Morant’s knee injury mean for the Memphis Grizzlies | Giannotto
COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: Ja Morant enters NBA’s health and safety protocols
Too much Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic didn’t play in the Mavericks’ loss to the Grizzlies on Saturday. The All-Star guard was his usual dominant self with 26 points, including 16 points in the second half. He added eight rebounds and seven assists.
He didn’t hit a wild buzzer-beater like he did at FedExForum last season but he broke the Grizzlies’ back with a 29-foot 3-pointer in Dillon Brooks’ face with 5:27 left. That put the Mavericks up nine and although the lead was cut to six points, the game was essentially over by then.
Another strong Jackson game
Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks while trying to carry the offense. The problem was he didn’t have much help.
The Grizzlies shot just 40% from the field. Brooks and Desmond Bane combined to shoot 12-for-33 from the field despite 15 and 14 points, respectively. De’Anthony Melton added 13 points off the bench.
Whatever good looks fell during the past five games, they didn’t fall this time as the Mavericks turned those missed shots into helping their offense.
The Grizzlies committed 23 fouls, tied for the third most they’ve had this season. It led to several chants from the fans voicing their disapproval and an overall lack of rhythm as the Mavericks committed 21 fouls.
However, that’s not why the Grizzlies lost. They were outrebounded 47-40. They gave up over 100 points for the first time in five games. Dallas shot 48.1% from the field and 36.4% on 3-pointers.
No matter how bad some fans or the Grizzlies thought the foul calls were or the non-calls, this game was lost because of poor defense and not enough rebounding. The Grizzlies excelled at both the past five games and it let them down Wednesday.
On the same day Ja Morant entered health and safety protocols, the Grizzlies did get some good health news. Coach Taylor Jenkins said pregame that Ziaire Williams was walking without pain following his sprained ankle suffered against the Miami Heat.
Jenkins called it a mild sprain, which was better after he was seen on crutches Monday. Williams is day-to-day but as for the rest of the injured Grizzlies – Brandon Clarke, Kyle Anderson, Sam Merrill – Anderson is the closest to returning.
Anderson was ruled out pregame with back soreness and has missed four games. The Grizzlies
The Grizzlies host the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday (7 p.m., Bally Sports Southeast) for the first time at FedExForum this season. The Lakers won the first matchup 121-118 in October at Staples Center.
Want to stay informed on the latest Memphis sports news? A Commercial Appeal subscription gets you unlimited access to the best inside information and updates on local sports, and the ability to tap into sports news from throughout the USA TODAY Network’s 109 local sites.
You can reach Evan Barnes on Twitter (@Evan_B) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org