Jaden Hardy sets mark and makes mistakes as Mavericks fall to Grizzlies in Dallas

Dallas Mavericks, Jaden Hardy
Dallas Mavericks, Jaden Hardy / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 104-88 on March 13. It was their second straight loss to Memphis as they played without Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving again. Doncic is dealing with a thigh injury, and Kyrie has a sore foot. Both players are hoping to return by Friday’s game against the Lakers, but having both stars out has created plenty of opportunities for others to step up.

Rookie Jaden Hardy earned his second consecutive start on Monday night, and he went off in the first quarter. Fans know the 20-year-old guard can fill it up as he had 16 points on five of nine shooting, including hitting four 3-pointers in the first 12 minutes. It was the highest-scoring first quarter for a rookie this season.

Hardy’s first-quarter performance was special, but he showed why his minutes have been limited over the final three quarters. Here is a look at the 20-year-old’s performance against the Grizzlies before diving into what is next for Dallas.

Jaden Hardy sets mark and makes mistakes as Dallas Mavericks fall to Grizzlies

Hardy showed that he can score from anywhere. The 20-year-old rookie was splashing 3-pointers, making difficult finishes inside, and even busting out his floater game. Hardy got hot early, and he certainly put on a show.

The Grizzlies upped the defense on the rookie after his hot start, and things went downhill from there. Hardy still finished with 28 points, eight rebounds, three assists, one steal, and 1 block in 41 minutes of action. He made just nine of 25 field goal attempts, including going five of 15 from 3-point range as Dallas was outscored by 12 with the 20-year-old on the floor on March 13. It was the second-highest scoring game of his young career.

That is how things go for talented rookies in the NBA. There are flashes of greatness and plenty of mistakes. Hardy must improve his shot selection, playmaking, and overall efficiency, but there have been positive signs for the second-round pick. The 20-year-old has the talent, but he needs the polish to get consistent minutes on a team that is trying to contend for a championship.

The Dallas Mavericks struggled mightily on Monday night. They shot just 38.9 percent from the field and made just 12 of their 46 3-point attempts. It was a forgettable night without their superstar duo that dropped Dallas to 34-35 on the season. The Mavs are under .500 for the first time since Dec. 19, and they are in danger of missing the postseason entirely.

The Dallas Mavericks need to get Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving back healthy as soon as possible. They only have 13 games left in the regular season and every contest matters in the crowded Western Conference. Can Dallas get back on track?

The Mavs face the Spurs in San Antonio on Wednesday night, and it is a must-win game for Dallas. They travel to Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Friday evening, and the Mavericks must figure out how to win both of those games if they want to avoid the Play-In Tournament this year.

Can Jaden Hardy stick in the rotation after two straight strong performances? Stay tuned to find out.

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