The Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks both won on Thursday night, taking 2-1 series leads. What was shocking was the way they won. Here's why those two victories were so remarkable.
The Grizzlies are For Real
Don't ever count out the Memphis Grizzlies. They overcame 26-point deficit on the road in a crucial Game 3 at Minnesota. Memphis came all the way back and then some, topping the Timberwolves, 104-95, to take a stunning 2-1 series lead. Oh, and the Grizzlies also covered the -2 pointspread. Those of us who had Memphis were tearing up our tickets in the third quarter, but taping them back together at the final buzzer.
How did this happen? Well, Memphis outscored Minnesota 37-12 in the fourth quarter alone. Desmond Bane had a team-high 26 points with seven 3-pointers. Ja Morant struggled shooting but recorded the franchise's first playoff triple-double: 16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists. Brandon Clarke provided a huge boost off the bench with 20 points.
Yes, the Grizzlies are for real. Sometimes a win like we saw on Thursday night is the confidence builder that there's something special in the locker room and bench about a team that is always capable of winning a game. We'll see if this propels the Grizzlies to go on and close out the rest of the series. Things will also get much tougher in the West the rest of the way.
No Luka, No Problem
The Dallas Mavericks are showing they're much more than a one-man show. Playing without star Luka Doncic for the third straight playoff game, the Mavericks upset the Jazz, 126-118, to take a 2-1 series lead.
How did this happen? Well, Jalen Brunson scored 31 points after a career-high 41 in Game 2. Spencer Dinwiddie added 20. Dallas made 18 3-pointers after hitting 22 in Game 2. The 40 combined makes are the most ever in a two-game playoff span for the Mavs.
It wasn't that long ago that the Mavericks managed just 93 points in Game 1. Two games later, they've not only survived Doncic's absence (he could return for Game 4) but now taken the series lead. That's in large part thanks to Brunson and Dinwiddie figuring things out.
A Final Note:
The Golden State Warriors are up a commanding 3-0 after holding off the Denver Nuggets, 118-113. It's been an ugly series for Denver, so far. This is also a statement by the Warriors that -- along with the Suns -- the West is loaded. Oh, and let's not forget Dallas and Memphis.