Published April 09, 2016
DALLAS (AP) Dirk Nowitzki ended a shooting slump and returned to his rightful place as the leading scorer for Dallas.
Devin Harris and rookies Justin Anderson and Salah Mejri were the keys to the deciding run that pushed the Mavericks to the brink of their 15th playoff berth in 16 seasons.
Who knows what names will be next after a right groin strain sidelined sparkplug J.J. Barea, the leading scorer in a playoff push by Dallas that started when the Mavericks slowed the pace to account for the loss of point guard Deron Williams and versatile forward Chandler Parsons.
Nowitzki scored 21 points, Harris had all 16 of his in the second half and the Mavericks beat the Memphis Grizzlies 103-93 on Friday night, matching a season high with their sixth straight win and staying in the mix for a higher seed that would keep them away from San Antonio and Golden State in the first round.
''We are going to figure it out,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. ''That's all I can tell you. When you lose guys, you lose versatility. We are going to have to be resourceful.''
Tony Allen scored 25 points to lead the injury-riddled Grizzlies. They lost for the seventh time in eight games a night after clinching a playoff spot when the Rockets lost at home to Phoenix.
Memphis (42-37) dropped a half-game behind Portland for the fifth seed, and the Mavericks (41-38) still have a chance to get that high because they hold the tiebreakers on both teams. The Grizzlies play Golden State twice in their final three games and are at the Los Angeles Clippers in the other.
The Mavericks will make the postseason for the 15th time in 16 seasons with a win or Houston loss in the final three games. The Jazz, currently holding the last playoff spot in the West, dropped two games behind Dallas with a 102-99 overtime loss to the Clippers.
The Grizzlies know Marc Gasol will miss the playoffs with a broken right foot, and P.J. Hairston played briefly in the second half against Dallas after missing 11 games with a left groin strain.
They still don't know when, or if, guard Mike Conley (left Achilles tendinitis) and forward Brandan Wright (right knee injury) will return.
''We ain't ducking nothing,'' Allen said. ''We knew we're in the playoffs. I think it's going into the playoffs healthy. We shot ourselves in the foot in that aspect, staying in the fifth seed, so we can't cry.''
Anderson had a career-high 19 points and his first double-double with 10 rebounds, including an offensive board of a missed 3-pointer by Nowitzki after Memphis had trimmed a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to five.
Barea, the team's leading scorer for the first five wins in the streak after the offensive pace changed, was injured midway through the first quarter when he was fouled on a drive by Jordan Farmar. He returned in the second quarter, but was slowed significantly and went to the locker room for good about 3 minutes after coming back in.
The diminutive veteran has been starting in place of Williams, who missed his eighth straight game with a left abdominal strain. Parsons is out for the season after right knee surgery.
Felton is the most experienced point guard remaining for Dallas, and he responded with a season-high 14 assists and 11 points.
''My shots weren't necessarily falling tonight, but at the same time I was getting into the pain, getting shots for other guys and just being aggressive,'' Felton said. ''Sometimes that's all it takes.''
Harris was the start of the solution in the second half, scoring 12 straight for Dallas across the third and fourth quarters before Felton found Anderson on a right-wing 3 for the first double-digit lead for either team at 81-71 with 10 minutes remaining.
Anderson hit another 3 with the shot clock about to expire before Mejri, the 7-foot-2, 29-year-old rookie from Tunisia, scored six straight points to finish a 28-8 run going back to third quarter for a 90-73 Dallas lead.
The Grizzlies shot 26 percent while getting outscored 28-19 in the third quarter, and ended up missing all 10 attempts from 3-point range in the second half. ''It was kind of a slow death for us there in the third quarter,'' coach Dave Joerger said. ''We couldn't get a bucket.''
Grizzlies: Allen scored at least 20 points for the fourth time in 17 games after not hitting that mark in any of the previous 275 games. ... Zach Randolph scored 13 points, but was held to 6-of-20 shooting. Matt Barnes and Farmar scored 11 apiece, while Barnes matched the team highs with seven rebounds and five assists.
Mavericks: Wesley Matthews had two big 3-pointers in the second half and three overall to finish with 11 points. ... The Dallas bench outscored Memphis reserves 46-30. ... The Mavericks had a five-game streak of holding opponents under 90 points snapped.
Grizzlies: Host Golden State on Saturday.
Mavericks: At LA Clippers on Sunday.
This story has been corrected to say Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points, not 17.