MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—The more Memphis fans booed, the more shots Dirk Nowitzki made.
Nowitzki matched his season high with 35 points and grabbed nine rebounds Friday night as the Dallas Mavericks beat Memphis 90-83 to snap the Grizzlies’ six-game winning streak.
Memphis fans quickly got on Nowitzki, taking issue with the Dallas star’s comments that the Mavericks should have done a better job against Pau Gasol when the Grizzlies’ leading scorer had 36 points and 15 rebounds in a Nov. 26 victory.
“I think the whole thing got blown out of proportion a little bit,” Nowitzki said. “I never disrespected Pau’s game. I’m a big fan of his game, and always have been. All I really said after that game was he had a special night and he’s a good player, but not the way we made him look that night.”
Nowitzki was 13-of-29 from the field and missed only one of nine free throws before fouling out with 37 seconds left. The Mavericks extended their winning streak to four.
Memphis, which trailed by as many as 16 in the second half, cut Dallas’ lead to three on several occasions in the final six minutes, the last time when Damon Stoudamire hit a 13-footer with 23 seconds left. But Stoudamire and Eddie Jones missed 3-pointers down the stretch, with Devin Harris blocking Jones’ shot.
Memphis hurt itself by missing seven of its first nine free throws in the fourth quarter, including a miss by Stoudamire, who shoots 92 percent. The Grizzlies were 30-of-45 from the line.
“It was all about us making plays,” Jones said. “We did it late, but we didn’t do it early. It catches up with you sometimes, when you don’t do it early.”
“I couldn’t get it going because they were double-teaming me, so it was hard,” Gasol said. “It was a frustrating situation.
“We really did a good job in the fourth, we just didn’t make our foul shots. If we made a few of those foul shots that we missed, I think we were 9-of-17 in the fourth, maybe it would have been a totally different game, and we would be much happier now.”
Memphis leads the league in defense, but Dallas looked like the stronger defensive club. The Mavericks kept Gasol from taking the ball inside and held the Grizzlies to 34 percent shooting. The Mavericks had 11 blocks, including six by DeSagana Diop, and Gasol committed half of Memphis’ 12 turnovers.
“We can play good defense when we’ve got our mind made up to do it,” said Mavericks center Erick Dampier, who led a 50-38 Dallas rebounding advantage with 11 boards. “We came up with stops when we needed them.”
Nowitzki scored 19 points in the half to help Dallas build a 43-36 lead at the break.
Dallas extended the lead to 16 in the second half, and despite Battier’s 3-pointer in the final second, the Mavericks carried a 64-57 lead into the fourth period.
Memphis wore throwback jerseys for the game, resurrecting the Memphis Pros jerseys from the ABA days. The Mavericks wore their white attire and were not required to don the Dallas Chaparral uniforms from the ABA. … Memphis beat its opponents by an average of 17.3 points during the six-game winning streak. … Mavs coach Avery Johnson received a technical from official Scott Foster in the first quarter after complaining about a lack of calls. … By halftime, the Mavericks already had 10 offensive rebounds. Dallas has only had single-digit offensive rebounds in two games this season. They finished with 14 offensive boards. … Grizzlies G Bobby Jackson left the game late in the third quarter with a pulled right hamstring and did not return.