Mavericks hand Grizzlies fifth straight loss
DALLAS -- The Memphis Grizzlies are tired and beat up, which is not exactly a recipe for success against a Dallas Mavericks squad on the opposite end of that spectrum.
The well-rested Mavericks, healthier than at any point this season, had little trouble in a 105-91 victory over their Southwest Division foes Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points in only 27 minutes, as coach Rick Carlisle had the luxury of going deep into his bench. Ten Mavericks logged at least 13 minutes and no one played more than 32.
Dallas forward Vince Carter scored 14 off the bench, guard Monta Ellis had 18 and backcourt mate Jose Calderon added 12 points. Forward Shawn Marion had 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Mavericks shot 55 percent and had 25 assists on 40 baskets.
"We're trying to find the open guy," Calderon said. "We are unselfish and everyone is looking to make the right play, no matter who it is. If there's a guy open, we try to pass that ball out."
Dallas (15-10), off since Saturday, won the first two games of a three-game homestand that ends Friday with Toronto. The Mavericks are 11-2 at American Airlines Center this season.
Memphis, without three starters and playing on the second night of a back-to-back, struggled to find much offensive rhythm in losing its fifth straight. The Grizzlies (10-15) have dropped both games to Dallas this season and are 0-7 against division opponents.
Struggling forward Zach Randolph scored 14 points for the Grizzlies; he made just 5 of 18 shots (27.8 percent). Over the last 12 games, Randolph has shot at least 50 percent in a game just once.
The Grizzlies found themselves playing catchup all night.
"It was real difficult," Randolph said. "We've just got to keep fighting and keep our heads up. They're a good team, they have playmakers and people who make shots."
Memphis guard Tony Allen scored 16 and tied a career high with 11 rebounds. A pair of reserves -- forward Ed Davis and guard Nick Calathes -- scored in double figures. Guard Jerryd Bayless, starting in place of Mike Conley, was 3 of 13 from the floor and scored just seven points.
The Grizzlies, down 13 at halftime, did make a run in the third quarter to pull within four points (66-62) on forward Mike Miller's 3-pointer. The Mavericks responded and were back up 12 going into the fourth.
"The staple for this team the last five years has been defense," Miller said. "We have to go back to that. Sometimes it's tough, but people talk about offense and it's defense that dictates the offense."
Dallas led by as many as 21 in the fourth, and Memphis coach David Joerger emptied his bench for the final three minutes. Carlisle pulled his starters for the last two minutes.
The Mavericks took control of the game early behind Nowitzki and Marion. Carter and Calderon came on strong in the second quarter, pushing Dallas' advantage into double digits.
The Grizzlies shot only 36 percent in the first half, but did enjoy a 30-14 edge in points in the paint. The Mavericks knocked down 53 percent and went into the locker room up 52-39.
"We defended great in the first half," Carlisle said. "They scored more in the second half, but we were able to stay the course and still outscore them slightly, which is big."
NOTES: Memphis G Mike Conley (left thigh contusion) missed his second straight game. The Grizzlies also were without F Tayshaun Prince (knee), C Marc Gasol and F Quincy Pondexter. ... Nowitzki and Carlisle were back after missing one game due to illness. Nowitzki scored 20, his 10th game with at least 20 in the last 14 games. ... Dallas G Devin Harris (toe) likely won't return until January. He had hoped to return this month. ... The Grizzlies have played the league's third-toughest schedule going into Wednesday, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Memphis opponents thus far had a .534 winning percentage.