Dallas Mavericks’ All-Star Dirk Nowitzki was missing a lot of shots Wednesday night against the Grizzlies, but he woke up in the fourth quarter. Nowitzki scored 19 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Mavs downed the Grizzlies, 106-102, at FedExForum.
The Grizzlies appeared to have the game in hand with 4:25 remaining in regulation, after Mike Conley hit a short jumper for an 88-75 lead. But the Mavericks went on a 15-2 run to send the game to overtime, keyed by two back-breaking three-pointers by Nowitzki, the second tying the game at 88, followed by a Nowitzki 12 foot fadeaway to tie it again at 90.
Sitting beside me on press row, WREG-TV sports anchor Mike Ceide said: “Grizz need to win it now, ‘cause they’ll lose it in overtime.” If you watch enough of these games, you get a feel for what can happen, and Ceide turned out to be dead-on.
After a timeout with 17 seconds left, the Grizzlies tried to run a play to get either O. J. Mayo or Zach Randolph an open shot to win the game, but both got jammed trying to come off screens, and Mayo was forced to try a deep fadeaway two pointer with a hand in his face as time ran out. It missed, and Nowitzki dominated the overtime, with six points and two assists, meaning he had a hand in ten of the Mavs 16 overtime points.
O. J. Mayo led the Grizzlies with 27 points, Mike Conley added 25, and both shot a high percentage (Mayo 10-16, Conley 11-18). Zach Randolph was his usual double-double self, 24 points and 12 rebounds, though he missed 14 of 23 shot attempts. Marc Gasol was clearly bothered by his bad neck, and was not in the game down the stretch. The bench remained woefully ineffective, again illustrating the crying need for depth on this team. Other than re-signing Rudy Gay, bench help has to be job one during the coming off-season.
The Grizzlies host the New Orleans Hornets Friday night, then hit the road at Eastern Conference power Orlando Sunday. The final two home games of the season are Tuesday against the Houston Rockets, and Saturday (4/10) against the Philadelphia 76ers.