Nowitzki, the lone Mavericks’ All-Star, scored 21 points in a season-low 26 1/2 minutes in Dallas’ 92-81 over Memphis, but Stackhouse tweaked his sore right hamstring in his return after missing seven games because of the injury.
“I wanted to get out there and test it, and it’s not where I want it to be,” Stackhouse said. “It was good to get some minutes. Today was a trial, a test. … I’m not feeling as great as I would like.”
Despite Nowitzki sitting more than ususal and Stackhouse playing only 11 first-half minutes, the Mavericks had another easy game against the Grizzlies.
The result was pretty much the same for Memphis. Coming off four straight losses at home, the last two after Pau Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Grizzlies lost their seventh straight road game.
Nowitzki scored 10 straight points in the third quarter when the Mavs put the game out of reach. A layup and a long jumper ended his streak, but those baskets started an 11-0 run by the Dallas that Jason Terry capped with a 3-pointer that made it 69-48 with 4 minutes left.
With Dallas facing four games in five-day stretch before the All-Star break starting Sunday, Nowitzki left good with 1:56 left in the third quarter. Two nights after his first career triple-double, Nowitzki hit 7-of-10 field goals, made 7-of-7 free throws and had six rebounds.
“It was good for us to get minutes for a lot of different guys. February’s going to be a beast for us so it’s nice to get everyone involved,” said Nowitzki, who still played the most minutes.
With point guard Devin Harris missing his sixth straight game with a left ankle injury and Erick Dampier out with a sprained right ankle sustained Wednesday, Stackhouse tried to ease back into the lineup.
Stackhouse had seven points and three assists in his 11 minutes, including a slam dunk. It wasn’t obvious when he hurt himself, but he didn’t play after halftime.
When asked if Stackhouse was OK, coach Avery Johnson said the veteran forward was and that the second-half sitdown was planned. But Stackhouse was obviously dejected.
“Biology is biology. I’ve got to let it heal,” Stackhouse said, without elaborating on if he’ll miss more games. “The important time for us is going to be May and June. I want to be ready June.”
“The tempo just wasn’t there for us,” coach Marc Iavaroni said. “We have to push the ball all the time. We’ve got guys who understand that, and guys who it’s new to.”
Deaven George had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting for the Mavs, while Brandon Bass had 12 points and Terry 11. Eight Dallas players had at least seven points.
DeSagana Diop got his first start since Jan. 6 in place of Dampier, and responded with eight points on 4-of-4 shooting and 12 rebounds. A talk earlier in the day with Johnson also helped.
“He told me to keep my head in the game,” Diop said.
Nowitzki wasn’t on the floor when Dallas broke a 20-20 tie with a 10-2 run to open the second quarter—or when Gay then had a personal 8-0 run in less than 2 minutes to tie the game for the last time.
George had consecutive 20-foot jumpers, then a defensive rebound and a pass to Bass for a fastbreak jumper that made it 36-30. That was the start of a 19-8 run over the final 6:48 of the first half.
Dallas scored 61 first-half points in a 103-84 victory at Memphis last week, but got off a slow start this time by missing their first five shots.
Nowitzki’s 20-foot jumper with 14 seconds left in the first quarter made it 20-20, the fifth tie of the game. It was only tied once more after that.
Stackhouse hit a 3-pointer, then Terry had consecutive jumpers in the first 96 seconds of the second quarter. Nowitzki scored five points in the final minute for a 49-38 halftime lead.
Memphis has its longest road losing streak since dropping 10 in a row from Dec. 8, 2006 through Jan. 22, 2007. … Dallas had a 25-point lead to start the fourth before 11 straight missed field goals, with all the starters on the bench, that closed the final margin. … Nowitzki scored at least 20 points for the 23rd time in 25 games. … Dallas got three technical fouls for 3-second violations on the defensive end.