Doncic beats Morant to break Memphis’ 11-game win streak

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Luka Doncic beat Ja Morant and, with a triple-double at the head of a fabulous team performance by the Dallas Mavericks, broke this Friday in a thousand pieces the streak of eleven consecutive victories of the Memphis Grizzlies (85-112). The Slovenian had 27 points (12 of 22 shooting, 0 of 6 on triples), 12 rebounds and 10 assists (with 6 turnovers) to overwhelm the Grizzlies, the fashionable team in the NBA but who only scored 30 points in the second half (the Mavericks had 62).

Doncic handled the fourth quarter as he pleased, both in scoring and distribution, and put the finishing touch to the Mavericks’ victory with a beautiful assist from behind for a dunk with an additional Dwight Powell. However, the key to the Mavericks’ victory was in the defense, superb and very supportive in the last two quarters.

Jalen Brunson (15 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 5 steals) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (16 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists) were part of the group of seven Mavericks players above 10 points. For the Grizzlies, Ja Morant (19 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists but 8 turnovers) and Desmond Bane (16 points and 6 rebounds) were the highlights of a night of poor success for the locals (38.2% shooting field versus 51.6% of the Mavericks) and clearly inferior in rebounding (41 versus 52). The Spanish Santi Aldama played 5 minutes for the Grizzlies, in which he grabbed a rebound.

Struggle to control the pace

Ja Morant wanted to be the protagonist from the beginning and printed his frenetic pace, also with an overwhelming defense, to dislodge the Mavericks. Ziaire Williams (7 points in the first quarter) was Morant’s luxury companion (9 points) in that wonderful staging by the Memphis team (25-16 with 2.59 to go). However, the Mavericks did not lose face in the duel and grabbed Luka Doncic (7 points but 4 turnovers) and Dwight Powell (7 points without missing shots) to maintain equality in the match after the first quarter (29-25).

The appearance of Tim Hardaway Jr., with two triples, encouraged the visitors, who tied the game at the beginning of the second quarter (37-37 with 8:14 to rest). The meeting then adopted a less fluid and choppy rhythm in which the Dallas team seemed to feel more comfortable (44-46 with 2.59 to go). However, a spirited run from the home side, fueled by a shot from Jaren Jackson Jr. and a creditable two-plus-one from Desmond Bane, put the Grizzlies ahead at halftime (55-50).

defense as key

The Mavericks’ defensive attitude changed completely after his time in the locker room. Much more combative and united, those from Dallas drowned out the Grizzlies’ attack and thus were able to go on the counterattack very easily. Jalen Brunson oxygenated the Mavericks’ offense, but it was Doncic who, with a layup on the counterattack, put his team ahead (62-63 with 7.37 to play). Displaced and with a broken compass, the Grizzlies accumulated turnovers with amazing ease, something that further catapulted the Mavericks who, with their second unit and Doncic resting, executed their plan of defending and running to the millimeter (66-73 to lack of 3.38). The Slovenian joined his teammates’ party and, with a two plus one over Steven Adams and a fadeaway basket over John Konchar, closed a perfect fourth of his team (73-84 after an 18-34 in the third quarter for the Mavericks).

The downpour continued in the last quarter with a painful 0-7 run as the start crowned by a triple from the corner by Hardaway Jr. (73-91 with 9.57 to go). To the Grizzlies’ despair, Doncic was by then in his element, shredding the home defense over and over again, capping off the game and the Memphis team’s run of triumph.

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