In the absence of Ja Morant, the Memphis Grizzlies will open a three-game road trip at Dallas on Monday night aiming for their third consecutive victory.
Morant is expected to miss his fifth straight game due to an off-the-court incident at a Colorado strip club on March 3. His return to action is still unknown, but authorities announced five days later that Morant would not face criminal charges after it appeared the star point guard flashed a handgun during an Instagram live video.
With Morant out, Memphis held on for a hard-fought 112-108 home victory over the Mavericks on Saturday night behind 25 points from Desmond Bane and a career-high 24 points from rookie David Roddy off the bench.
Roddy scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and helped the Grizzlies overcome an 83-77 Mavericks lead entering the game’s final frame. He hit 7 of 8 shots, including 3 of 4 from the 3-point line, as Memphis erased an 11-point deficit in the fourth to earn its 40th win of the season.
“We really just needed energy coming out of that third quarter,” Roddy said. “I knocked down a few shots and got into a rhythm. Whenever I had the opportunity, I took it.”
It was the first of two games in a three-day span for the Grizzlies and Mavericks, who played without Luka Doncic in Saturday’s loss due to a left thigh strain. Newly acquired Kyrie Irving also didn’t play due to right foot soreness.
“We played hard, and we gave ourselves a chance to win without our top two dogs,” said the Mavericks’ Jaden Hardy, who had 22 points.
Doncic exited in the third quarter of last Wednesday’s 113-106 road loss against the New Orleans Pelicans after scoring 15 points and dishing out eight assists. An MRI on Doncic’s left thigh revealed no damage and he’s listed as questionable entering Monday’s matchup with Memphis.
Irving was scratched 90 minutes before the tipoff against the Grizzlies after playing 41 minutes against the Pelicans. He led Dallas with a team-high 27 points against New Orleans and is expected to return for the rematch with Memphis.
“I’m questionable right now,” Irving told ESPN after Saturday’s shootaround. “I’ll do everything I can in the next few hours to get ready for the performance.”
Tyus Jones is starting at point guard for Memphis with Morant out. He’s averaging 10.1 points and 4.8 assists per game. Bane (21.3 ppg, 4.2 apg) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (17.0 ppg, 6.6 rebounds, 3.2 blocks per game) are being relied on more heavily on the offensive end with Morant unavailable.
Dillon Brooks has averaged 34 minutes over the last two games for the Grizzlies, but his offensive production needs to increase following an eight-point performance in Saturday’s win over Dallas.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had 23 points and six rebounds in the loss to Memphis Saturday. Josh Green added a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Christian Wood tallied 14 points off the bench.
If Doncic and Irving are unable to play, Hardy, Hardaway and Green will have to pick up the slack on the offensive end once again for the Mavericks.
–Field Level Media