The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night as superstar Luka Doncic sat out with ankle soreness. They won the rematch 104-96 on Dec. 8 behind an impressive night from the 22-year-old. Doncic led the second-half charge to push Dallas to a comfortable victory.
The Mavericks were on the second night of a back-to-back set after suffering a fourth-quarter collapse on Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets. It was their eighth loss in the last ten games, and the Grizzlies had a rest advantage and were riding a five-game winning streak as they hosted Dallas on Wednesday evening.
Luka was not going to let the Mavericks lose in Memphis. Here is a closer look at his incredible performance, and why Dallas needed the victory.
Luka Doncic shines as Dallas Mavericks defeat Grizzlies in Memphis
The Mavs had every reason to wilt down the stretch on Dec. 8. They were on the second night of a back-to-back, Kristaps Porzingis was in foul trouble, the Grizzlies had a five-game winning streak, and so on. Nobody would have blamed Dallas for losing a close game in Memphis against a red-hot team, but Doncic was not going to let it happen.
Instead, the Mavericks dominated the second half on their way to their 12th victory of the season. Luka led the way with 16 over the final 24 minutes. Dallas turned up the heat in the fourth quarter to run away with the contest. They outscored Memphis by 7 in the final period, including Doncic hitting this key bucket.
Doncic finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and one steal in 36 minutes of action. Fans could see him grimacing on the court, but the 22-year-old played through it. He shot ten of 19 from the field, including making five 3-pointers as the Mavericks outscored the Grizzlies by 18 during Luka's time on the floor.
The Mavs needed the victory on Wednesday night to snap their recent skid, and the win moved Dallas back to .500 on the season. The Mavericks plan on winning the division, and this game was massive in those standings. Memphis won the first meeting and were 2.5 games ahead coming in. Luka and company evened the season series, and got Dallas right back in the Southwest Division race.
The Dallas Mavericks return to action on Friday night as they travel to Indiana to Pacers. It will be the first time the team faces former head coach Rick Carlisle following his 13-season stint in Dallas. Fans should expect fireworks, including a monster performance from Luka Doncic, so do not miss it.