Mavs Snap Grizzlies' 11-Game Winning Streak as Luka Doncic Outduels Ja Morant

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 15, 2022

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) handles the ball against Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
AP Photo/Brandon Dill

The Dallas Mavericks snapped the Memphis Grizzlies' 11-game winning streak with a 112-85 road victory on Friday in FedExForum.

Memphis led 55-50 at halftime, but Dallas outscored the Grizz 62-30 in the second half to run away with this one. The Mavs led by double digits for the entire fourth quarter.

Luka Doncic paced the Mavs with a 27-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. He's now registered 40 for his career.

Mavs PR @MavsPR

Luka Dončić has recorded his 40th career triple-double with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists midway through the 4th quarter.<br><br>Dončić is now one of 11 players in <a href="https://twitter.com/NBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBA</a> history to record 40 triple-doubles. <a href="https://t.co/qlbKT9PV5w">pic.twitter.com/qlbKT9PV5w</a>

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

There have been 80 triple-doubles in Mavericks franchise history. Here's the breakdown:<br><br>Luka Doncic: 40<br>Everyone else: 40<br><br>This is Luka's 226th career game, the 2nd-fewest games to reach 40 triple-doubles in NBA history (Oscar Robertson, 92 games). <a href="https://t.co/hcKIynT2zE">pic.twitter.com/hcKIynT2zE</a>

Jalen Brunson did work on both ends with 15 points, nine assists and five steals.

Ja Morant led Memphis with 19 points and eight assists.

The Mavs continued to play without big man Kristaps Porzingis, who has missed seven straight games due to his placement in the league's health and safety protocols.

The 23-19 Mavs, who have won seven of their last eight, remained in fifth. The 30-15 Grizzlies maintained their hold on third place in the Western Conference despite the loss.


Notable Performances

Mavericks PG Luka Doncic: 27 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists

Mavericks G/F Tim Hardaway Jr.: 16 points

Mavericks G Jalen Brunson: 15 points, 9 assists, 5 steals

Grizzlies PG Ja Morant: 19 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds

Grizzlies SG Desmond Bane: 16 points, 6 rebounds

Grizzlies F Kyle Anderson: 12 points, 5 rebounds

Luka Guides Mavs To Win

Simply put, Doncic was the best player on the floor Friday. The NBA's hottest team had no answer for anything he did, and Doncic took advantage with a dominant night.

Doncic's 10 dimes included an alley-oop to Dwight Powell in the first quarter;

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

That Luka to Dwight connection &gt;&gt;&gt;&gt; <a href="https://t.co/TXmX6vfDjc">pic.twitter.com/TXmX6vfDjc</a>

He also found Dorian Finney-Smith with a pinpoint pass to get the Mavs going in the third:


Free throw line to free throw line 🤯<br><br>Luka with a pinpoint long-distance dime on ESPN! <a href="https://t.co/Plu566Mubc">pic.twitter.com/Plu566Mubc</a>

Doncic capped off his triple-double in style, finding Powell yet again for two thanks to a behind-the-back feed:


🗣 "What a way to register a triple-double"<br><br>Luka goes behind-the-back for his 10th dime of the night! <br><br>He's got 27 PTS, 12 REB and 10 AST as the <a href="https://twitter.com/dallasmavs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dallasmavs</a> lead on ESPN! <a href="https://t.co/tE9QzUBDg1">pic.twitter.com/tE9QzUBDg1</a>

When he wasn't finding his teammates for great looks, he was creating his own shot, Eurostepping here for two:

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

Euro-steppin' in Memphis<a href="https://twitter.com/AcmeBrick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AcmeBrick</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/luka7doncic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@luka7doncic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> <a href="https://t.co/forLbugbfT">pic.twitter.com/forLbugbfT</a>

Doncic's precise ball-handling and footwork were on full display in the third as well:

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

Euro-steppin' in Memphis<a href="https://twitter.com/AcmeBrick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AcmeBrick</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/luka7doncic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@luka7doncic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> <a href="https://t.co/forLbugbfT">pic.twitter.com/forLbugbfT</a>

Doncic ended up scoring 10 of the Mavs' third-quarter points, and his efforts helped change the game's storyline:

Dallas Mavericks @dallasmavs

Luka finding his groove with 10 points in Q3 🪄<br><br>RT to vote <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LukaDoncic?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LukaDoncic</a> to the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> game! (<a href="https://twitter.com/AcmeBrick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@acmebrick</a>) <a href="https://t.co/sKog1BjqHf">pic.twitter.com/sKog1BjqHf</a>

His best play took a page out of Mavs franchise legend Dirk Nowitzki's playbook, though:


Going to the Dirk fade to close out the third!<br><br>Luka's got 19 PTS, 9 REB and 9 AST heading into the fourth on ESPN. <a href="https://t.co/VteHL8AKG5">pic.twitter.com/VteHL8AKG5</a>

All in all, Doncic delivered an excellent performance to cool down the Grizzlies, who hadn't lost since Dec. 23.


Grizzlies' Win Streak Ends After Tough Second-Half Performance

It was a tale of two games for the Grizzlies, who led by as many as nine points in the third quarter but ultimately couldn't get anything going on either end for much of the second half.

The Ja Morant Show took center stage early, with the NBA MVP candidate finding Ziaire Williams for two:

Memphis Grizzlies @memgrizz

Grz Nxt Gen Mixtape Tour 💿<a href="https://twitter.com/JaMorant?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JaMorant</a> // <a href="https://twitter.com/therealZiaire?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@therealZiaire</a> <a href="https://t.co/642AezwzHW">pic.twitter.com/642AezwzHW</a>

He also scored nine first-quarter points to vault the Grizz to a 29-25 lead after one:

Memphis Grizzlies @memgrizz

big 12 cooking early 🥷<a href="https://twitter.com/JaMorant?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JaMorant</a> // <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> <a href="https://t.co/mMj4BM70Or">pic.twitter.com/mMj4BM70Or</a>

Morant kept it going in the second quarter, slicing his way into the paint and putting in a basket over Powell for a 49-46 edge:

Memphis Grizzlies @memgrizz

PUT EM IN THE MIX <a href="https://twitter.com/JaMorant?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JaMorant</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> <a href="https://t.co/M9mVr46fU3">pic.twitter.com/M9mVr46fU3</a>

The Grizzlies' defense also came to play, notably blocking Doncic on a few occasions:

Memphis Grizzlies @memgrizz

WE SWARM 🚫 <a href="https://t.co/KO9lMpE9sC">pic.twitter.com/KO9lMpE9sC</a>

Memphis Grizzlies @memgrizz

beautiful. memphis. grizzlies. basketball. <a href="https://t.co/5WqGxwPWvR">pic.twitter.com/5WqGxwPWvR</a>

A Desmond Bane two-pointer gave the Grizz a 62-53 lead early in the third, but Dallas took over from there, outscoring Memphis 59-23 the rest of the way.

As Drew Hill of the Daily Memphian noted, it appeared that the Grizzlies simply ran out of gas in the second half, and for good reason:

Drew Hill @DrewHill_DM

Grizzlies are completely out of gas. Nothing will go. Every shot is short.

Drew Hill @DrewHill_DM

They've played eight games in 12 days, won 11 games in a row and beat three of the top four teams in NBA. <a href="https://t.co/U3jVrdwkGG">https://t.co/U3jVrdwkGG</a>

Grizzlies assistant coach Darko Rajakovic also admitted that fatigue played a part:

Parker Fleming @PAKA_FLOCKA

Darko Rajakovic here for postgame. He said you never look for excuses, but fatigue was a factor, and they were running on fumes. Them missing shots led to transition offense for Dallas

As Chris Vernon of The Ringer noted, the Mavs were also able to play at their desired pace and style too:

Chris Vernon @ChrisVernonShow

Mavs have gotten Grizzlies into a halfcourt game. They have only turned it over twice since the 1st qtr. Grizzlies gotta get this thing moving up and down if want streak to continue.

Ultimately, this wasn't the Grizzlies' night, but they've proven over the past three weeks that they are a dangerous powerhouse team at their best.

This 11-game win streak was no fluke, thanks to an MVP candidate in Morant and the deepest rotation in basketball. Their staying power is legit, and they are going to be a serious problem come playoff time.


What's Next?

Dallas will host the Orlando Magic on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. ET in American Airlines Center.

Memphis will welcome the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls into town on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for a 3:30 p.m. start.