Mavericks regain swagger in ending Grizzlies' winning streak

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks haven't won nearly as many games as they're accustomed to this season and especially wins of a blowout variety. They'll take Saturday night's 104-83 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies and enjoy their first back-to-back victories in more than a month.

Dallas (15-23) started a crucial four-game homestand and now at least have a chance to build hope for a push back into playoff contention in this month leading into the All-Star break. The Mavs outlasted Sacramento in overtime Thursday and now have struggling Minnesota and Houston, combined losers of five in a row, coming to the American Airlines Center next, followed by Oklahoma City.

"Being able to come home and start off this homestand the right way is really important for us," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "We take nothing for granted.

"This whole season has been work. It's been challenging, and it's going to continue to be that way, but we're showing some signs of coming together in some different ways and we've just got to continue."

The Grizzlies (24-11) saw their four-game overall winning streak and four-game road winning streak end. They never got their game in gear, gassed coming off Friday night's overtime home win against the San Antonio Spurs.

"We just didn't have it tonight," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "We didn't have maybe one, maybe 1 1/2 starters that could bring it. Our focus and concentration wasn't there."

The Mavs put together about as good a first half as they could in taking a 54-39 lead into the locker room. Dallas shot close to 60 percent for much of the first two quarters against the league's second-best scoring defense to lead by as many as 18 points. Memphis got within 12 points in the second quarter with about four minutes to play, but Dallas followed with a couple of offensive rebounds to expand the lead again.

"And that was all she wrote," Hollins said.

The margin would bulge to 30 points in the third quarter and Memphis, which shot just 38.1 percent for the game and was surprisingly outrebounded, 48-41, would made a game of it. Dallas helped itself by keeping its season-long issue with turnovers down to just nine.

"Every little thing helps," said Mavs forward Shawn Marion, who had a game-high and season-high 20 points. "We have to keep taking baby steps. We have to start crawling so that we can start walking eventually. But right now, we are taking baby steps and we have to keep adding to that."

Six Dallas players scored in double figures, just the ninth time this season that they've managed to do that. Dirk Nowitzki scored 17, Chris Kaman had 14 and former Memphis guard O.J. Mayo scored 11. Elton Brand added 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

The Grizzlies, who next face the Los Angeles Clippers, got double-figure scoring from one starter, Rudy Gay (12 points), and two reserves, Darrell Arthur (11 points) and Josh Selby had 10.

Zach Randolph, who averages 16.9 points and 12.0 rebounds, was held to six points and four boards. Marc Gasol had just eight points and six rebounds.

"They made shots that I haven't seen them make all year tonight," Gay said of the Mavs' 48.8 percent shooting that included going 11-for-17 from beyond the 3-point arc. "You have to forget about this game because it's a loss and the game is over. We need to work towards the next one and try and get a win."

NOTES: Dallas entered Saturday's game having lost four consecutive home games dating back to a Dec. 18 win against Philadelphia. They had not lost five in a row since losing seven straight from Dec. 6-26, 1997. ... The Grizzlies came in with a four-game road winning streak. The last time Memphis won five in a row on the road was a franchise-record seven-game streak from Feb. 17-March 10, 2010. ... Mavs guard Mike James made his home debut after signing a 10-day contract on Tuesday. ... Marion made a 3-pointer for the third consecutive game, only the second time he's done that since 2008. ... Nowitzki played in his 11th game back from arthroscopic knee surgery and is now 85 points away from passing Allen Iverson at No. 18 on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
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