Mavs finish strong to beat Grizzlies
Dallas, TX – Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, leading to Dallas Mavericks to a 95-85 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in a battle of playoff contenders.
Shawn Marion scored 12 of his 16 points in a fourth quarter that saw the Mavs outscore the Grizzlies by a 29-17 margin.
Dallas rebounded from a 19-point loss to the Clippers on Monday and pulled into a virtual tie with Memphis for the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference playoff race.
"It was a good bounce back for us," Mavs guard Jason Terry said. "Obviously we're fighting with all of these teams for playoff positioning and this was a crucial game for us as are all of them."
The Grizzlies, who had a three-game winning streak snapped, were led by O.J. Mayo's 17 points. Marc Gasol recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, but shot just 3-for-13 from the field.
Dallas trailed by five early in the fourth, but scored 10 straight points - six from Marion - to go in front 78-73 near the midway point.
The Grizzlies, playing their third game in as many days, appeared to slow down in crunch time, as a 9-0 run by the Mavs a little later turned a close game into a double-digit deficit.
Terry began the stretch with a three-pointer, and Marion ended it with a dunk for an 89-77 cushion with three minutes remaining.
The closest the visitors got from there was eight.
"I think we ran out of gas. I think we gave our best effort, for the most part," Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said. "In the fourth quarter, we couldn't score, shots weren't falling for us, and they got too many easy looks in transition. They got out and got some turnovers, and they were able to capitalize off of those for some easy buckets."
Memphis held a 23-20 lead after the opening quarter and led by as many as 10 in the second. Dallas, though, chipped away at the deficit and pulled within 51-47 at the break.
A back-and-forth third quarter ended with the Grizzlies holding a 68-66 edge.
A third and final meeting between these teams will take place in Memphis on Saturday. The Grizzlies took a 96-85 decision at home back on Feb. 29...Terry netted 15 points and Delonte West added 14 for the Mavs, who made 50 percent of their attempts. Memphis shot just 8-of-14 from the foul line.