Young duo shines as shorthanded Mavericks lose to Grizzlies without Luka and Kyrie

Dallas Mavericks, Josh Green
Dallas Mavericks, Josh Green / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks were without Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving on Saturday night. Doncic re-injured his thigh on Wednesday night and did not make the trip to Memphis. Irving hurt his foot in New Orleans and was ruled out against the Grizzlies about 90 minutes before tipoff. Most assumed that would spell doom for Dallas, but they had other ideas.

The Mavs' young duo of Josh Green and Jaden Hardy shined on March 11 in a 112-108 loss in Memphis. Both players were in the starting lineup and got ample minutes on Saturday night, and both took full advantage of the opportunity. The Grizzlies were also shorthanded, including being without Ja Morant, but they still had Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Dillon Brooks on the floor against the Mavericks.

Here is a closer look at the performances of Josh Green and Jaden Hardy before diving into why this was a massive game and what is next for Dallas.

Jaden Hardy and Josh Green shine as shorthanded Dallas Mavericks lose to Grizzlies without Luka and Kyrie

Fans know rookie Jaden Hardy is a walking bucket, but the 20-year-old has not received many chances to shine recently. He was a DNP-CD in five of the last six games after seeing minutes in 12 consecutive contests from Jan. 26 to Feb. 23. Hardy already has two games of 25-plus in scoring, and he put on another show on Saturday night.

The 20-year-old rookie finished with 22 points, two rebounds, three assists, and one steal in 37 minutes of action. He made nine of his 21 field goals and just one of his four free throw attempts. It was not the perfect night, but the rookie showed he can score.

Josh Green’s playing time in recent games has been more of a headscratcher. He is clearly one of the team’s five most talented players, but coach Kidd brought him off the bench twice in the last six games, and he averaged just 24.8 minutes per game over that small sample.

Green showed why he should start and play 35-plus minutes every night on Saturday as he finished with 21 points, ten rebounds, and four assists. He was nine of 16 from the field, including hitting three 3-pointers in Memphis.

Tim Hardaway Jr. got hot in Memphis as he went for 23 points on eight of 15 shooting from the field. He hit four 3-pointers on Saturday night to go with six rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in his 36 minutes of action. The Mavs shot 15 of 43 from three with THJ leading the way, and Dallas must sink jumpers if they are going to win games.

It took a total team effort from the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night. This was the first of three meetings between the two teams over the next ten days. Every game matters for both teams as they fight for playoff position, so it was fantastic to see the Mavs answer the challenge without their two superstars. They came up just short, but it should be a confidence booster for Dallas knowing they can compete with Memphis even without Luka and Kyrie.

David Roddy saved the Grizzlies on Saturday night. The rookie had 24 points in 22 minutes off the bench as he made ten of his 13 field goals, including hitting four 3-pointers.

The Mavericks return home to host the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. They are hopeful that Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving can return to action, but there are no guarantees. The Grizzlies will again be shorthanded, but can Dallas take advantage? Be sure to tune in to find out.

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