One game after the Dallas Mavericks’ ZZ Top-like beards were gone, they may make an encore appearance.
A day after finally getting to shave after reaching the .500 mark for the first time in over four months, the Mavs dropped below that magical barrier with Monday’s 103-97 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at American Airlines Center.
Now 40-41, the Mavs will end their season at 7 p.m. Wednesday at home against the New Orleans Hornets.
“We’ve got one left and we’ve got a chance to avoid a losing record, and I think that is significant,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’ve got to get ready for Wednesday.”
Memphis beat up the Mavs on the backboards 50-36, including 16-8 on the offensive end. The Grizzlies turned 15 Mavs turnovers into 25 points.
The Grizzlies’ bench came in averaging 27 points per game, but outscored the Mavs’ bench 64-44.
“They made a lot more plays than we did and we made a lot of mistakes,” Carlisle said. “We had some guys who didn’t show, literally, and just didn’t compete for us the way that we needed them to compete, so it’s really disappointing.”
One of those players who had a subpar game was guard O.J. Mayo, who spent his first four seasons with Memphis before joining the Mavs last summer via free agency.
“He wasn’t into it the first half,” Carlisle said of Mayo. “We showed him some film at halftime where he virtually was just standing around defensively. I said, ‘Hey, we need you.’
“He just had a bad night; I guess I’ll write it off to that. But I tell you what, if I was playing against my former team I’d come out ready to go at them. But that’s me.”
Mayo was scoreless in the first half and finished with just two points on 1-of-6 shooting, and he also committed four turnovers in 28 minutes.
“With all the time that we put into helping him develop and bringing him along, in the biggest game of the year and an opportunity to be a winning team, for him to show up like he did tonight, I was shocked,” Carlisle said. “I just want to see him show up. I want to see him show up and compete. He didn’t compete tonight.”
Dirk Nowitzki (26 points), Vince Carter (22 points) and Mike James (14 points) were the only ones in double-figure scoring. Carter moved past Clyde Drexler and into 27th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
“I think that we were just not as aggressive as we were in the first half,” James said. “It was just frustrating, and not just one person can take the blame. It’s a team effort and that has been the story of our season this year.”
The Mavs were cruising along with a 46-32 lead with 4:08 left in the second period. But the Grizzlies went on a 19-4 run to take a 51-50 lead.
During that run, the Mavs missed 10 straight shots, were 2 of 14 from the field and committed six turnovers.
Meanwhile, Mayo apparently was the player who caught Carlisle’s wrath the most.
“If you’re not going to compete, don’t show at all,” Carlisle said. “Sometimes guys have bad nights. Well, the good news is there’s only an opportunity for one more [bad game].”