MEMPHIS — The shorthanded Mavericks gave the Memphis Grizzlies all they could muster Saturday night in what was a crucial road game.
But after ultimately wounding up on wrong end of a 112-108 decision before an announced sellout crowd of 17,794 in FedExForum, it was evident Dallas had dropped its second consecutive loss, in large part because it was without arguably two of the NBA’s best closers: Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving.
For the first time since Dončić and Irving became teammates amid a midseason blockbuster trade, the budding superstars were ruled out of a game while nursing injuries, which meant the Mavericks were faced with a tall order against a scrappy Memphis team that is tied with Sacramento for second in the Western Conference standings.
To their credit, though, the Mavericks (34-34) kept it interesting for a majority of the contest against a Grizzlies team that was playing its third consecutive game without superstar Ja Morant.
The 23-year-old Morant is away from the team indefinitely amid an NBA investigation into an Instagram Live video of the two-time All-Star and 2020 Rookie of the Year displaying a gun at a Colorado nightclub March 4.
Still, with three of this game’s marquee players unavailable on this night, the Mavs’ fourth-quarter woes continued as they were dealt their second road loss in as many games.
In its first of back-to-back games against Memphis (40-26), Dallas led by as many as 10 with little more than nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. But the Grizzlies subsequently outscored the Mavericks, 32-18, the rest of the way to extend their winning streak to two games.
Memphis and Dallas will complete their home-and-home series Monday night in the American Airlines Center at 7:30 CDT.
Tim Hardaway Jr. continued his stellar play of late by scoring a team-high 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting, Jaden Hardy finished with 22 points in a team-best 37-plus minutes, and Josh Green added 21 points for Dallas.
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Christian Wood was the lone reserve to manage double figures for the Mavs with 14 points.
Desmond Bane registered a game-best 25 points on 8-of-10 field goals and reserve David Roddy managed 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting to lead the Grizzlies, who witnessed six players score in double figures.
Following Friday’s practice, the Mavericks announced that Dončić, the NBA’s second-leading scorer (33 points per game), would sit out Saturday’s game and is listed as day-to-day due to a left thigh strain.
The 24-year-old Slovenian did not travel with the team to Memphis.
Irving, meanwhile, was listed as questionable heading into Saturday’s game with a sore right foot. However, the Mavericks’ second-leading scorer was ultimately ruled out during coach Jason Kidd’s pregame availability to the media.
Although Dončić is expected to miss more time, it is unclear if Irving will return for Monday’s game against Memphis. — Andre Johnson
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