For the Dallas Mavericks and the Memphis Grizzlies, the playoffs started a game earlier than the rest of the NBA. Both teams came into the final regular season tied at 49-32. The winner gets the seventh seed in the playoffs; which means avoiding the San Antonio Spurs in round one of the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, the seventh seed wasn’t meant to be for them as they fell 106-105 in overtime.
How It Went Down:
It was a close game the entire way. For a brief period in the first quarter, the Grizzlies had a 10-point lead over Dallas. Other then that, though, the Mavs and Grizzlies battled back and forth for the seventh seed.
The same thing that has bothered Dallas all year, though, reared its ugly head. The Mavs had a hard time with interior defense and help in the weak side defense down low. Memphis had 58 points in the paint. Memphis also had 20 offensive rebounds for 19-second chance points.
Dallas, trailing by two after three quarter would rely on Monta Ellis to do what he’s done all season long. Monta, who only had four points in the first three quarters, scored 14 points between the fourth quarter and overtime. His biggest shot came with 13 seconds left in the game and the Mavs trailing by three points. Monta hit a three-pointer to tie the game and eventually send it to overtime.
In overtime, the Mavs had a chance to put the game away. Dirk Nowitzki hit a three-pointer to put Dallas up 105-102 with 46 seconds left, Mike Conley missed a three-pointer that would tie the game. However, three Dallas players couldn’t secure the rebound as Tony Allen got the offensive board and put back to cut the deficit to one. Monta dribbled the clock down as much as he could but missed on a jump shot with just under seven seconds left in the game. Mike Conley took the rebound and drove the length of the floor in and drew a foul by Vince Carter as he was trying to shoot. He calmly sank both free throws to put Memphis up by one with 1.1 seconds left. Monta’s jumper from 20’ out clanked off the back iron and Memphis celebrated the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.
Inside the Numbers:
Dallas made the eighth seed in the playoffs but how high could they have gone? Dallas lost five games in which they held at least a 17-point lead in the game..
There were 15 lead changes and 16 ties in the game.
Impact Play of the Game:
With 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Monta Ellis calmly knocked down a three pointer to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Step-Up Mav of the Night:
Monta scored seven points in the fourth and another seven in the overtime period. Despite losing the game, Monta keeps proving himself as a player that can be relied upon during the stretch run of games.
Dirk Nowitzki on foul that sent Mike Conley to line with 1.1 seconds left: “(He) just runs in there and didn’t have anything. Tough call.”
— Eddie Sefko (@ESefko) April 17, 2014
Mavs went 11-11 in games decided by 3 or fewer. 0-5 by 1 pt. 4-9 by 2. 7-1 by 3
— Chuck Cooperstein (@coopmavs) April 17, 2014
Dallas will play the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.
Game 1: Sunday April 20 @ 12:00 in San Antonio
Game 2: Wednesday April 23 @ 7:00 in San Antonio
Game 3: Saturday April 26 @ 3:30 in Dallas
Game 4: Monday April 28 @ 8:30 in Dallas
Photo Credit: Lance Murphey, AP