Deron Williams and the Dallas Mavericks weren’t happy with the way they performed in their Wednesday night loss to the Indiana Pacers—so they went to the film, and came out with a win.
D-Will finished with 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal as the Mavs turned in a fantastic defensive performance in a 97-88 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Dallas gave up 107 points the game prior in a defeat to the Pacers, but they righted the ship in decisive fashion thanks to a little extra homework.
“We haven’t played particularly well and lost some games we feel like we should have been better and should have competed a little more. So, Coach [Rick Carlisle] was on us pretty good yesterday, and we watched over an hour of film,” said forward Dirk Nowitzki. “This was something we needed and the game that we wanted before we go back on the road for a tough back-to-back. It was good to see everybody compete. Everybody played well.”
The Grizzlies led throughout the entire first quarter, but the Mavs got some major contributions on the bench from Chandler Parsons and JaVale McGee to keep it close late in the frame. Parsons went 3-for-3 in the first quarter for 10 points, while McGee scored on an alley-oop and pulled down a defensive rebound to set up the final bucket of the period: a J.J. Barea jumper that made it just a one-point deficit, 26-25, after 12 minutes.
Then in the second quarter, Deron and Dirk heated up to put Dallas in control.
With the game tied at the 6:31 mark, Deron splashed a three-pointer to give the Mavs their first lead of the game, 38-35. That bucket was assisted by Barea, and D-Will returned the favor on the next possession, dishing to his fellow guard on a layup to make it a five-point advantage.
The Grizz tied it back up later in the quarter, where Deron sent another dime to Dirk on a trifecta to break the tie once again. D-Will attempted one final three with less than a second to go in the first half, and he was fouled by Matt Barnes. No. 8 made Barnes pay for that miscue, knocking down all three free throws to give the Mavs a six-point cushion, 55-49, going into the locker room.
After shooting 56.3 percent to take over in the second quarter, the Mavs never really looked back. They did it with defense in the third, holding Memphis to 29.4 percent shooting while forcing five turnovers. The Dallas offense wasn’t exactly prolific in the third, but Charlie Villanueva came through with five points off the bench to help preserve the lead and send Dallas to the fourth with a 75-66 lead.
The Dallas bench was terrific. Parsons had 16 points, seven assists and seven rebounds; McGee tallied 10 points, five boards, three blocks and the game’s highest plus/minus at plus-20; Villanueva hit two three-pointers and had 10 points, while Barea turned in seven points and four dimes. The Mavs reserves outscored their Grizzlies counterparts 43-31.
“I thought the bench gave us a lift with JaVale. Parsons played well with some rhythm right away. And Charlie made some big shots coming off the bench, so I thought the guys came in and gave us a nice little lift,” Nowitzki said.
Dallas jumped on Memphis early in the final quarter. Three-pointers by Parsons, Raymond Felton and Nowitzki gave the Mavs a 16-point lead. Twice later in the quarter, D-Will helped to give his team its largest lead of the night: 18 points. First he pulled down a defensive board, and on the other end, Barea found McGee on an alley-oop slam. Then later in the quarter, Deron dropped in a driving layup to make it 97-79.
That bucket came with just 2:10 to go, and afterward, the Mavericks took their foot off the gas. Memphis chipped its way back to make the final score more respectable, but Dallas cruised to the comfortable win.
“You know, we knew they were an aggressive team and a physical team, so we definitely wanted to take care of the ball tonight and be aggressive from the jump. And we did that,” Parsons said. “Guys made shots, guys played unselfish and we defended really well. We really emphasized being on the help side and making them skip the ball. We followed the game plan, and it worked.”
D-Will and the Mavs (15-12) have some much-needed time for rest over the weekend before a Eastern Conference pre-Christmas back-to-back, starting Tuesday with the Toronto Raptors (17-11) and continuing Wednesday with Deron’s return to Brooklyn to take on the Nets (7-19).
The Raptors beat the Mavs 102-91 in Dallas early in the year, while the meeting with Brooklyn will be the first of two this season.
Both games will tip at 6:30 p.m. CT. The Toronto game will air nationally on NBA TV, while the meeting with the Nets will air locally on FOX Sports Southwest.
- Grizzlies at Mavericks: Game Book (NBA, Dec. 18, 2015)
- Nowitzki scores 20, leads Mavericks past Grizzlies (AP, Dec. 18, 2015)
- Game 27: Mavs vs. Grizzlies (Mavs.com, Dec. 18, 2015)
- Dallas Mavericks show energy in outlasting Memphis Grizzlies (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 18, 2015)
- JaVale McGee emerges as two-way threat for Dallas Mavericks (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 18, 2015)
- How JaVale McGee perfectly filled role of supporting actor for Mavericks (Dallas Morning News, Dec. 19, 2015)