Grayson Allen’s NBA breakout hits crushing wall

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Grayson Allen’s hot streak was halted in the most painful of ways.

The 25-year-old guard has been on an offensive tear, but two missed free throws overshadowed his 23-point performance in the Grizzlies’ heartbreaking 114-113 to the Mavericks on Wednesday night.

All signs pointed to a victory for Memphis late in the game. They were up by two when Allen, a 90.6% free-throw shooter, went to the line with 2.2 seconds left. Even if Allen missed one of two shots, Dallas’ best chance would be to force overtime.

The former Duke star, who is averaging double-digit points for the first time in his NBA career, missed both free throws.

With seconds to spare, the Mavericks inbounded the ball to Luka Doncic, who delivered in a big way.

Doncic managed to get a shot off after stumbling through multiple Grizzlies defenders, and knocked down a Hail-Mary 3-pointer to win the game.

After the upset, Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said, “It came down to one great shot at the end by [Doncic].”

The crushing loss made Doncic the hero of the night, and sent Allen to a roast on social media.

Before Allen’s missed free-throws, though, he led the team in scoring. Allen recorded 23 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in 35 minutes of play. He was on fire from 3-point range, knocking down 6-of-11 attempts.

Allen’s scoring explosion began after the All-Star break in early March, and continued even through a hip injury later that month. Since the break, he’s averaged 13 points per game, well above his average of 8.4, and has shot 40 percent from deep.

Although his pair of missed free throws stings, the 27-26 Grizzlies are still in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race as they begin a seven-game road trip on Friday in Chicago. During Monday night’s 101-90 win against the Bulls, Allen drained four threes.

The win put the seventh seed Mavericks 2 1/2 games over the No. 8 Grizzlies. Golden State follows in the 9th seed, and San Antonio is in 10th.

As of now, all four teams are in the Western Conference play-in matchups to join the top six seeds in the playoffs.

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