‘Good' Grizzlies Put a Beatdown on Bad Mavs, O.J. Mayo May Be Pretty Good

Every time I sit down to watch a Grizzlies game, I know I'll be getting one of two teams.

The Good Grizzlies are young, athletic, and hungry. They play defense with focus and intensity, they rebound, they rely on terrific plays from Rudy Gay slashing and OJ Mayo nailing jumpers, and Marc Gasol beasting around the interior. Their role players don't turn the ball over, and Hakim Warrick provides the spark off the bench while Marc Iavaroni manages good rotations and timely, effective timeouts.

The Bad Grizzlies make immature decisions, foolish passes, execute poorly, get freaked out on defense when a team comes right at them, fail to crash the boards and let Kyle Lowry shoot a lot.

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Today was a Good Grizzlies day.

There's a lot to be said about the Grizzlies' 102-82 win over the Mavericks, which snapped a 13 game losing streak to the division "rivals." And a lot of it has to do with things like Jason Kidd, Erick Dampier, and Devean George, three of the starting five, combining for a whopping five points and six assists. There's surely a lot of negativity on the Mavs' plane tonight, but they should save some respect for the Grizzlies, who put out their most complete performance in several weeks.

And as has become the norm, O.J. Mayo was at the front of the charge.

Before the game, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News' Mavericks blog pointed out a fascinating stat he got from the Grizzlies' media department. In Eddie's own words:

"One of the most head-scratching morsels of information I've seen in a while comes courtesy of this chart. It lists the players who started their careers with the most consecutive games of scoring at least 10 points..."

And here's the list, in reverse order.

10. Larry Bird: 20
9. Magic Johnson: 21
8. Alonzo Mourning: 22
7. Dikembe Mutombo: 23
6. O.J. Mayo: 25
5. Mitch Richmond: 43
4. Ron Harper: 69
3. David Robinson: 77
2. Michael Jordan: 89
1. Terry Cummings: 239

Getting past, as Sefko pointed out, the bizarre fact that Terry Cummings is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the pack, the fact that O.J. Mayo is right there with the rest of these guys says something in and of itself. And guess what? Now it's 26.

Mayo, quiet through the first half, exploded in the second when the Mavericks adjusted to stop Marc Gasol, who had 19 in the first two quarters. Mayo used a stunning array of crossover step-back threes, fadeaway, last-second turnarounds, and wide open perimeter shots off great rotations by Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry to bury the Mavericks comeback hopes. Mayo still struggled with what is one of his Achilles' heels, dribbling into the baseline trap over and over and over again, but limited his turnovers and let the game come to him.

Meanwhile, Rudy Gay was relentlessly attacking the basket on his way to 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. This all while not getting to the line once, which has happened in three straight games. Kind of strange for one of the better basket-attackers in the league, no?

Dirk Nowitzki did what he usually does, go down firing, and he absolutely abused Darrell Arthur who was forced to defend the Big German for most of the game. You could almost hear Arthur's heart breaking every time Nowitzki nailed another mid-ranger over his out-stretched arms. However, the lack of an interior presence for the Mavericks was fairly damning, with Dampier a non-factor and the Grizzlies crashing the boards.

It's just one win over a Mavs team still struggling with consistency, but it shows the hope of the future in Memphis is pretty bright.

...

Okay, fine. Darius Miles played, one game down, nine to go for the cap complications on the Blazers.

'Good' Grizzlies Put a Beatdown on Bad Mavs, O.J. Mayo May Be Pretty Good originally appeared on NBA FanHouse on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 00:36:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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