Mavs hand Grizzlies fifth straight loss
Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points and the Dallas Mavericks extended the Memphis Grizzlies' recent struggles by cruising to a 105-91 win at American Airlines Center.
Monta Ellis added 18 points and Vince Carter chipped in 14 along with six assists in a game Dallas led virtually wire-to-wire en route to a second consecutive victory.
The Mavericks shot nearly 55 percent from the floor while holding the Grizzlies to a 40 percent field goal percentage to improve to 5-2 in December and deal Memphis a season-high fifth straight loss.
"We defended great in the first half," said Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. "They scored more in the second half, but we were able to stay the course and still outscore them slightly, which is big."
Tony Allen paced the Grizzlies, who played without a pair of starters in point guard Mike Conley and Tayshaun Prince, with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Zach Randolph and Jon Leuer finished with 14 points each in defeat.
The shorthanded Grizzlies were able to hang tough early on, with the game decided by just one point until Dallas put forth an 8-0 run to grab a 30-21 lead just over a minute into the second quarter.
An 11-2 spurt, during which Nowitzki accounted for eight points, extended the margin to 41-27 midway through the period, and Dallas stayed in front by double digits over the remainder of the half to enter the break owning a 52-39 advantage.
Strong defense enabled the Mavericks to lead comfortably at the intermission, with Dallas limiting the Grizzlies to 36.2 percent shooting and forcing nine turnovers that were converted into eight points.
Memphis managed to make some headway in the third quarter, stringing together a 9-1 stretch that was capped by a Mike Miller three that trimmed the deficit to 66-62 with 3:44 to go in the frame. The Mavericks answered with six straight points, though, and entered the fourth quarter still with some breathing room by holding a 78-66 cushion.
The Grizzlies never threatened thereafter, with the lead swelling to 21 points after an Ellis trey with 4:39 left made the score 98-77.
"It was a game where we had to hang in the entire time because Memphis really threw everything they had at us, even though they were back-to-back," said Carlisle.
Both Nowitzki and Carlisle missed Dallas' most recent outing, a 106-93 win over Milwaukee on Saturday, due to illness ... Conley missed a second straight game due to a bruised quadriceps, while Prince is dealing with a sore knee that limited him to just nine minutes in Tuesday's loss to the Lakers ... Dallas went 20-of-23 from the free throw line, compared to a 9-of-14 showing for the Grizzlies ... Memphis fell to 3-9 since center Marc Gasol suffered a sprained knee last month.
12/19 00:14:32 ET