Mavericks 110, Grizzlies 103

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DALLAS (AP)—Having already locked up the league’s best home record, the Dallas Mavericks added one more milestone victory in their home finale Tuesday night.

Rookie Marquis Daniels continued his recent roll with 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, helping the Mavericks beat the Memphis Grizzlies 110-103 to secure the fifth seed in a Western Conference race that’s still jumbled at the top.

The 36th home victory set a franchise record.

But because Dallas is only 15-25 on the road, the Mavs won’t have homecourt advantage in any round of the playoffs. The last time the league’s best home team opened the postseason on the road was Utah in 1990-91.

“We’ve had a great season at home and we didn’t want to mess it up,” said Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki. “We wanted to get the fifth seed and we went for it. We had a great effort early on.”

The Mavericks were up by 13 after one quarter and led by at least nine until the final minute.

Memphis, which lost its third straight and fifth in six games, will have the sixth seed.

It’s not too disappointing to a club that’s already won a franchise-best 50 games and made the playoffs for the first time. Coach Hubie Brown said the most important thing was getting Pau Gasol and Bonzi Wells back from injuries that kept them out of the last four games. Wells scored 27 and Gasol had 10 points and seven rebounds.

“Our main goal as a coaching staff was to make sure they got back for these two games to get their legs back, and even more importantly, their timing,” Brown said.

The Mavs and Grizzlies won’t know their first-round foe until late Wednesday.

Dallas is most likely to play the Lakers, with Memphis likely facing the runner-up in the Midwest Division, either San Antonio or Minnesota. The Grizzlies will have a say in how things work out because it faces the Timberwolves at home Wednesday night.

“If we win, it will mess up a lot of stuff,” Wells said.

The Mavs finish with a meaningless game at Houston. The Rockets already clinched the seventh spot.

“It’s like studying for a final exam trying to figure out all the scenarios,” said Mavericks forward Antawn Jamison. “We’re going to play tomorrow and find out around midnight who we’re going to play Saturday or Sunday. I’m not worried about it.”

Considering how unsettled the playoff race was, fans came were expecting an intense game. They were disappointed from the start.

At 6:36 of the first quarter, Nowitzki picked up his third foul, just 31 seconds after getting his second. That sent Memphis’ James Posey to the line— and he missed both shots.

Posey missed a dunk the next time down the court, part of a 6-for-20 first quarter for the Grizzlies. Their final shot was typical of their focus: Wells threw a three-quarter court rainbow that went over the top of the backboard; he let it fly about two seconds before the buzzer.

The Mavs got off to a strong start because they were hitting outside shots. Only one of their 13 first-quarter baskets came in the paint. They stretched the lead to 19 in the second and went up by 22 late in the third quarter on a tough jumper by Nowitzki and a powerful dunk by Daniels.

An undrafted rookie, Daniels has worked his way into the starting lineup and become a key contributor on the league’s highest-scoring team. This was his third straight 20-point game and fifth in 10 games.

Steve Nash had 25 points for Dallas, Nowitzki had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Michael Finley scored nine after missing the last two games with bruised ribs. Antoine Walker had eight points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Jason Williams had 14 for Memphis. Posey, who’d been averaging well over 20points in recent weeks, scored just 12.

Notes

Dallas and Memphis could wind up tied in the standings, but the Mavericks get the higher seed on a tiebreaker. … The public-address announcer introduced Antawn Jamison as the “Sixth Man of the Year.” At the next dead ball, Mavs owner Mark Cuban came over to clarify to the announcer that Jamison should be called the “leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate.” … The first 5,000 fans received giant foam caricatures of Nowitzki’s face. Made in the formof foam fingers, from afar they look a lot like Shawn Bradley with a goatee.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Memphis
P. Gasol P. Gasol
3-13,  10 Pts
7 Rebs, 3 Assists
 Dallas
M. Daniels M. Daniels
12-19,  30 Pts
8 Rebs, 7 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists