Nowitzki leads Mavs past depleted Grizzlies 105-88

Dirk Nowitzki gave the Mavericks a boost in his return to the

lineup, while the short-handed Grizzlies lost another starter to

injury.

Nowitzki scored 20 points after missing a game with a stomach

virus and Dallas defeated Memphis 105-88 on Wednesday night.

The Mavericks (15-10) have won two straight to equal their

season high of five games over .500. Memphis (10-15) has lost five

in a row and seven of eight.

Nowitzki added six rebounds, five assists, two steals and one

blocked shot. He scored four points during a 10-2 run after the

Grizzlies cut a 16-point deficit to four in the third quarter.

”I didn’t feel great Monday in practice,” the 16-year veteran

said. ”We didn’t have a game for another two days, so by Tuesday I

was a lot better and today I felt fine. I used the break to get

healthy.”

Mavericks teammate Monta Ellis, who scored 16 of his 18 points

in the second half to help squelch a Memphis rally, said Nowitzki

didn’t look as if he hadn’t played a game in a week.

”Even when he came back to practice, he didn’t look like that.

He’s been in the league so long that he knows how to take care of

his body,” Ellis said.

Jose Calderon, in his first season with Dallas, scored 12

points, including two 3-pointer in the second quarter. He said he

was ”amazed” by Nowitzki.

”He makes everything look so easy. I was amazed how the guys

guarding him kept jumping, and he just waited and knocked down the

shot,” Calderon said.

While the Mavericks got their star forward back, Memphis was

without three injured starters.

Tayshaun Prince missed his first game this season because of a

sore left knee, and the Grizzlies already were without point guard

Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol. They dressed only 10 players for

the game.

Tony Allen led the Grizzlies with 16 points and matched a career

high with 11 rebounds – 10 on the offensive end. But he left in the

fourth quarter because of a cut on his pinkie that required three

stitches.

”I’m going to try to play (Saturday at New York),” Allen said.

”I don’t want to sit out and do all that behind-the-scenes

treatment.”

Grizzlies coach David Joerger thought playing short-handed might

have caught up to his team when it lost the momentum of a

third-quarter rally that reduced Dallas’ lead from 65-49 to

66-62.

”We got an offensive rebound when we were down six and had a

turnover. I should have probably called a timeout at that point.

Then we miss a layup, they score and I do call a timeout when we

are down 10,” Joerger said.

Memphis’ eight offensive rebounds in the third helped the

Grizzlies go on a 13-1 run that cut their deficit to 66-62. Zach

Randolph scored 10 points during that stretch and finished with

14.

Dallas built the lead back up to 78-66 entering the fourth

quarter. Memphis got no closer than 11 during the final 12

minutes.

Vince Carter had 14 points for the Mavericks and Shawn Marion

10.

Samuel Dalembert, who didn’t play in Dallas’ previous game, came

off the bench in the second half to score eight points, grab seven

rebounds and block two shots in 13 minutes. He also slowed down

Randolph.

”I liked the lift that Sam gave us off the bench,” Nowitzki

said. ”He was phenomenal using his wing span to slow down Zach,

and getting blocks and rebounds.”

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was able to change defensive

tactics once he inserted Dalembert.

”They were making a run. Randolph had gotten involved a little

bit. We’d been double-teaming and fronting, and that opens up other

things. We had Sam play it straight up. He was able to guard, his

length was a factor, he rebounded, he blocked shots,” Carlisle

said.

The Grizzlies shot only 17 for 47 (36 percent) in the first

half.

”We held them to 40 percent shooting (for the game). Any time

we do that we put ourselves in position to win games,” Nowitzki

said.

The Mavericks led by as many as 15 before finishing the first

half with a 52-39 advantage. Three players did the damage in the

second quarter, combining for all but two of Dallas’ points.

Nowitzki and Calderon each scored eight, and Carter had seven.

Nowitzki led the first-half scoring with 14 points, followed by

Calderon’s 10. Allen also had 10, along with seven of Memphis’ 12

offensive rebounds in the half.

”I thought Tony Allen really played a great game. When you get

10 offensive rebounds from the shooting guard position, that is

working,” Joerger said.

NOTES: Conley (24 points), Gasol (23) and Prince (three)

combined for 50 points in the previous meeting, a 111-99 Dallas

victory on Nov. 2. Allen was scoreless in that game. … Mike

Miller started in Prince’s place and scored eight points. Conley

(bruised left thigh) missed his second game in a row, and Gasol

(sprained MCL in left knee) was out for the 12th consecutive game.

The Grizzlies are 3-9 since Gasol was injured. … Carlisle also

missed the team’s previous game Saturday because of a

gastrointestinal illness. … Dallas is 54-18 against Memphis.