MEMPHIS -- Short-handed and just trying to rub two nickels together and get a dime, the Dallas Mavericks resorted to their old ways Friday night at the FedEx Forum.
One night after committing a season-low nine turnovers in a 15-point loss to the world champion Miami Heat, the Mavs turned the ball over 24 times in a 92-82 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Mavs (12-15) have lost 10 of their past 16, including five of their past six. And they are three games under .500 for the first time since they were 1-4 last season after a loss to Minnesota on Jan. 1
In addition to turnovers, the Mavs were outrebounded 47-42. That deficiency became acute late in the game when the Mavs only trailed by six points, but saw Marc Gasol grab back-to-back offensive rebounds to keep the possession alive for Memphis.
Gasol then proceeded to finish that possession with a basket to put Memphis ahead 90-82 with 41 seconds remaining in the game.
"The smaller group got us back into the game and got us close," coach Rick Carlisle said. "And then their length was a major factor in the end."
The Mavs were missing forward Elton Brand (groin) and starting point guard Derek Fisher (knee). And then point guard Darren Collison didn't play in the second half after he said he felt ill.
But Dominique Jones came off the bench to score a season-high-tying 13 points and distribute seven assists.
"I like the way he played," Carlisle said. "He played with a lot of force."
A pair of free throws by O.J. Mayo tied the game at 49-49 early in the third quarter. But the Grizzlies forced a cluster of turnovers and went on a blistering 20-3 scoring spree to take a 69-52 advantage.
The Mavs, though, didn't quit, and eventually chopped the deficit to six. Then Gasol used his superior height and brute strength to outman the Mavs for a pair of crucial rebounds down the stretch.
"We were outmanned, coming off of a late back-to-back," Carlisle said. "The guys really hung in and gave what they could give."
Shawn Marion (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Vince Carter (14 points, 7 rebounds) led the Mavs, and Brandan Wright added 12 points. However, in his first game back in Memphis since he and the Grizzlies parted ways this past summer, Mayo was held to just 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Mayo was closely guarded by Tony Allen, who had specific instructions from Memphis coach Lionel Hollins not to leave him at any time.
"I know their defensive schemes," Mayo said. "A lot of times the ball was going away from me, or obviously towards me.
"But I know Allen likes to roam and stick his nose in there and get some steals and hit the passing lanes. But he was pretty much in the denial position all night."
Rudy Gay led Memphis with 26 points, Zach Randolph had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Gasol picked up 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Mavs play their final game before Christmas at 6 p.m. Sunday in San Antonio. They can only hope the outcome is better than what happened in Memphis.
"The guys showed some character tonight battling and hanging in the way they did," Carlisle said. "They were rested and we weren't.
"I was really happy with how everybody fought. There's not a consolation when you lose, but the effort was good."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760