MEMPHIS – In the locker room after Monday’s huge 103-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, Tyson Chandler rolled the sleeves on his right arm to reveal some big bruises that had taken over his tattoos.
"I’ve got a couple of scratches and bruises,’’ Chandler said. "It’s a wrestling match down there.’’
Chandler spent the lion’s share of Monday’s game tussling with Grizzlies building blocks Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. In the end, Randolph collected 18 points and 15 rebounds, Gasol added 20 points and eight boards, and Chandler contributed 10 points and 16 rebounds – and also walked away with the all-important victory.
The win came when the Mavs blew an 11-point lead and trailed 91-89 with 4:01 left in the game. But on the road, in hostile environment and in front of a sellout crowd, the Mavs showed some physical resiliency rarely seen this season.
Following a timeout after Mike Conley Jr.’s 3-pointer put the Grizzlies up by two points, the Mavs regrouped and finished the game on a spirited 14-4 run.
"It wasn’t just so much what was said in that timeout,’’ Chandler said. "Kind of our main thought before the game started – in pregame – was just to be persistent.
"We knew this was going to be a tough battle and we knew some things that weren’t going to go our way, and we just had to just stick with it. In that moment everybody kind of walked to the bench the same way we’ve been walking to the bench the entire game and came out that much more focused.’’
It was the type of dead-eye focus which led to the Mavs getting this short two-game road trip off on a positive note.
"By no means we have it figured out,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "We have a team that is regularly new to each other.
"The only way we are really going to come together is to go through struggles like we went through today and grow together. This was a great opportunity and the guys stayed the course and we got it done.’’
The Mavs got it done, and then hopped on a plane where they’ll complete this road trip Wednesday night in Minnesota before hosting the Chicago Bulls.
"We understand that we still have some building to do,’’ Chandler said. "No doubt that we got to continue to get better, and that’s all part of the process.
"And I thought tonight was a big win for us.’’