Gasol Shines But Grizzlies Fall at Dallas

Pau Gasol worked the Rim for 29-points, but Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 of his 38 points in a

flawless first quarter, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Memphis

Grizzlies 113-97 Wednesday night to match a franchise record with

their 16th consecutive home victory.

Nowitzki made all seven of his field goals in the opening

quarter, including a 14-footer at the buzzer, to go along with

4-of-4 free throws, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

When he missed his first shot - five minutes into the second

quarter right after returning from an extended break - the

Mavericks had a 25-point lead. They needed almost all of that to

overcome their own miserable stretches.

After trailing by as many as 27 before halftime, the Grizzlies

got within 68-61 on Mike Miller's tip-in midway through the third

quarter after Dallas missed its first 11 shots following halftime.

Dallas led by 27 again early in the fourth before a 16-2 spurt by

the Grizzlies.

Memphis scored the first 12 points of the third quarter before

Nowitzki made the second of his two free throws. But by the time

Nowitzki made a 3-pointer at the end of the third, Dallas was back

up 89-65.

Nowitzki finished 14-of-20 with 10 rebounds and six assists.

Josh Howard added 23 points and nine rebounds, and Devean George

scored 15 points for the Mavs, whose last home loss was Dec. 7

against Detroit. They go for their 17th straight home victory

Friday night against Houston.

Pau Gasol had 29 points and Miller 21 with five 3-pointers for

Memphis, which lost for the sixth time in seven games and dropped

to 3-21 on the road. Gasol had nine of the 22 Memphis turnovers.

One season after the teams met in the first round of the

playoffs, the Grizzlies (12-38) are 28½ games behind Western

Conference-leading Dallas (40-9), which has the NBA's best record.

After sweeping that four-game playoff series last April, the

Mavericks have swept this season's regular four-game set as well.

A week earlier in Memphis, the Mavericks held on for a 95-94

victory despite a pair of 30-footers by Miller and Chucky Atkins in

the final 5 seconds. Dallas had played only once since, winning

94-93 over Minnesota on Saturday night.

Miller, who had 20 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter of the

last meeting, started this one with another long 3-pointer. But

that was the only time the Grizzlies led.

Howard responded with a 3-pointer that started a 10-0 run for

Dallas. The Mavericks led 40-24 after the first quarter, then

scored 12 straight points after Gasol's 6-foot hook shot to start

the second.

After the Grizzlies got close in the third, they then had six

turnovers in a five-minute stretch when George scored nine points

for the Mavericks. Nowitzki hit consecutive baskets to end the


Notes: The Mavs led 65-45 at halftime, one point shy of their

highest-scoring half of the season. ... Dallas finished with 30

assists and 14 steals, both season highs. ... Memphis is 6-14 since

Tony Barone replaced fired coach Mike Fratello on Dec. 29. ...

Dallas has three 40-point quarters this season, including another

against Memphis in the fourth quarter on Nov. 17. ... Mavs starting

C Erick Dampier missed the game with a sore right knee. DeSagana

Diop and DJ Mbenga combined for 10 fouls, three points and five

rebounds in 26 minutes in his place.