The Dallas Mavericks, with the help of overpowering Luka Doncic and stout defense, secured a 104-91 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night. 

Luka Doncic continued his torrid pace by scoring 37 points, his second-highest scoring output of the season. Doncic made 13-of-25 shot attempts and added eleven rebounds, nine assists, and three steals. 

“Luka was aggressive,” Mavericks Head Coach Jason Kidd said postgame. “I know he would want me to say this: He was great on defense. He had the total package today, not just when you look at stats, but defensively he was in the right place.”

The Dallas supporting cast also appeared aggressive and poised on the defensive end. Kristaps Porzingis added 15 points, eight rebounds, and his six blocks match the most he has had in a Mavericks uniform.

As a team, Dallas had a season-high 12 total blocks. Jalen Brunson reached double-digits in scoring as well, finishing with 13 points. 

The Mavericks have now won 11 of their last 13 games and seven of their last ten games against the Grizzlies over the last three seasons. This win clinches a 3-1 season series victory over Memphis (32-17), guaranteeing that Dallas (27-20) will have the tiebreaker in the final standings if the two teams happen to finish with the same record. 

The Mavericks’ defense was the key to the game. Porizingis, along with Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber, played excellent interior defense. The Grizzlies could hardly hit an outside shot, finishing 4-of-24 (16.7%) from the three-point range. 

Memphis made just 28% of their shot attempts in the first half, failing to score 20 points in either the first or second quarter. At halftime, Dallas held a comfortable 48-34 lead. The 91 total points scored by Memphis is 21 points less than their season average of almost 112 points per game. 

The only bright spot for the Grizzlies was the play of their own star, 22-year-old point guard Ja Morant. Memphis was shorthanded playing without three key players in TCU-alum Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, and Brandon Clarke. 

Morant finished with 35 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists, but it seemed like Doncic matched him basket for basket. Morant has had an exceptional first half of the season, leading to some rating him as an MVP candidate. 

Morant passed Doncic in the NBA All-Star fan voting for second place among Western Conference guards in the last two weeks. Since taking over the second spot, the two have faced off twice in nine days, with Doncic winning the head-to-head both times.

On January 14, Doncic had a triple-double with 27 points, 12 rebounds, and ten assists as the Mavericks snapped a Grizzlies 11-game win streak.

With fan voting for the NBA All-Star game ending on January 27, Doncic has put forth several All-Star performances in recent weeks. 

He will have another chance to prove he is worthy of being an All-Star starter when the Mavericks play the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. The Warriors are led by Steph Curry, who is first in the fan voting for Western Conference guards.