MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 28 points, including a key layup with 17 seconds left as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Dallas Mavericks 112-108 on Monday night in Ja Morant’s first game back with the team after an eight-game league suspension.
Santi Aldama added 22 for Memphis and Desmond Bane finished with 17 as Memphis won its sixth in the last seven.
Kyrie Irving led the Mavericks with 28 points, but missed all eight of his shots in the fourth quarter as Memphis outscored Dallas 29-12 in the period.
Morant did not dress for the game but was on the Memphis bench, coming out to a hearty ovation from the fans just before tipoff. The NBA assessed the suspension after a video from a Denver-area strip club earlier this month showed Morant brandishing a gun.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks were again without leading-scorer Luka Doncic, who missed his fifth game with left thigh soreness.
That left the Dallas offensive surge to Irving, picked up in a trade deadline deal, along with Christian Wood, who scored 20.
Dallas built its lead to 16 points in the third quarter, but Memphis crafted a 24-7 run in the fourth, and the game settled into an exchange of leads for both teams.
The game was tight through the first half with seven ties and three lead changes before the Mavericks carried a 60-57 lead into halftime, led by 20 points from Irving. The third quarter belonged to Dallas, stretching lead to 96-83 as Hardy scored 10 in the stanza, while the Mavericks shot 62%.
Mavericks: While Doncic missed his fifth game with a left thigh strain, it marked the eighth time in 17 games since acquiring Irving at the trade deadline that one or both of the All-Stars has been out. ... Davis Bertans’ 3-pointer in the second quarter was the 800th of his career.
Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks picked up a technical foul for taunting after a dunk. It was his 18th of the season, and per league rules, he will be suspended for Wednesday’s game against Houston. ... Memphis is 11-2 against the Southwest Division, with the only losses coming to Dallas and the New Orleans Pelicans.
Mavericks: Host Golden State on Wednesday night.
Grizzlies: Play the first of consecutive home games against Houston on Wednesday night.