Grizzlies 90, Mavericks 84
MEMPHIS -- For most of the first half on Wednesday, the Memphis Grizzlies played a turn-back-the-clock game.
Like the franchise was still located in Vancouver, where it was the worst team in the league for many years before moving to Memphis 11 years ago.
Fortunately, after falling behind Dallas by 25 points, the Grizzlies squad that have been a playoff team the last two years showed up.
Twin towers Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol began knocking Mavs all over the place, the Grizzlies' hands became a blur on the perimeter and an astonishing 36-4 run, including 20 straight points to open the second half, propelled the Griz to a 90-84 victory at FedEx Forum.
Randolph finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Gasol had 21 and 12 for the Grizzlies (38-18). Shawn Marion topped Dallas (25-32) with 16 points.
Not even Griz coach Lionel Hollins calling two timeouts in the game's first 3:26 could prevent the Mavs from running to a 38-19 lead after one quarter. The Grizzlies didn't score a field goal in the first five minutes, while the Mavs clearly played with purpose.
Memphis started the night staggering around and never got in rhythm. The more Dallas played with purpose, getting the ball where it wanted and leading to 75 percent (15-of-20) first quarter field goal accuracy, the more the Grizzlies settled for outside shots that clanked off the rim with alarming frequency.
Only a late Griz rally sent Memphis to the locker room at the half with a smidge of hope, trailing 55-42. And that only happened after four Mavs turnovers in the last two minutes led to six Griz points.
The Griz starters were a combined 6 of 27 from the field in the opening half, and Dallas held a 28-10 advantage on points in the paint.
The Grizzlies took the momentum of Darrell Arthur's first half-ending dunk and built on it. Memphis opened the second half with one of the most stunning runs in franchise history, 20-0 in the first seven minutes and 36-4 dating back to late in the first half, to take a 62-55 lead en route to 66-62 edge at the end of the third quarter.
The Mavs didn't score their first point until 3:51 was left in the quarter on an O.J. Mayo free throw. Mike James got Dallas' first field goal with 3:07 left on a steal and layup after the Mavs missed their first 13 shots of the period.
Memphis didn't do anything spectacular. The Grizzlies just got down and gritty, especially Randolph. He and Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki got into some serious body contact, and Randolph emerged the winner scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds in the quarter.
NOTES: The Grizzlies, 8-2 in February coming into Wednesday's game, are about to head into their most brutal month of this season with 11 away games and just six at home. The killer week is a four-game, five-day West Coast road swing March 12-16 featuring two back-to-backs. "I don't look at all of March, just the fact we play at Miami and at Orlando March 1-3," Griz coach Lionel Hollins said. "It does no good to look ahead, because things change. Sometimes, a game you expect to be tough isn't as tough as you thought it would be, and a game you don't think will be tough turns out to be a lot tougher. I just know that mental toughness and depth will help us (in the four-in-five) situation. Guys that haven't played much will have to step up and hold the line." ... Nowitzki is clearly back in form after missing the first 27 games of the season with arthroscopic knee surgery. Entering Wednesday's game, he was averaging 21.5 points and 10.7 rebounds over the last six games, hitting 11-of-17 3's in that stretch. ... Memphis is 8-2 since acquiring Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Ed Davis.
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