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Mavs have easy time with Grizzlies

Feb 9, 2008 - 6:23 AM By Royce Wall PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DALLAS (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks had an easy night.

Nowitzki and the Mavericks pulled away in the middle two quarters and rolled to their 10th straight win over the Memphis Grizzlies, 92-81, on Friday night.

The Mavericks started to pull away in the second quarter, opening with a 10-2 run to go up 30-22 at 9:23 on Devean George's 3-pointer. Jason Terry added four points in the run.

Memphis immediately ran off eight straight points - all by Rudy Gay - to tie it at 30-30.

Dallas outscored Memphis, 11-2, in the last 2:10 to lead 49-38 at the half. Nowitzki had 11 points for the Mavericks and Gay had 16 for the Grizzlies, including 12 in the second quarter.

Dallas outscored Memphis, 29-17, in the third quarter and scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to take the game's largest lead at 80-55.

"Defensively, we were pretty decent tonight," Nowitzki said. "We were in position, forcing some tough shots and rebounding the ball. We got into our running game and had some good looks in the open court as well.

"We had some good shots. We finally got some good looks against their zone. We were struggling a little bit in the first half against that zone. The third quarter was definitely good."

The Mavs cleared the bench down the stretch, and the Grizzlies made it respectable. Dallas missed 12 straight shots late in the quarter.

With his team in control for most of the second half, Nowitzki played only 26 minutes and finished with 21 points and six rebounds while shooting 7-of-10 from the field.

"I sat Dirk out for a long time," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "Going into this back-to-back and the games that we have between now and All-Star Weekend, it was good to have a game like this."

"The bench playing this much can only help us in the long run," George said. "Everyone's staying sharp and getting some playing time. As a deep team, it helps us when everybody is playing and getting their opportunities."

Dallas opened the third with a 9-3 run to build the lead to 58-43 at 8:01 on two free throws by Nowitzki. Jose Juan Barea had five points and Nowitzki had four in the run.

Memphis cut its deficit to 58-48 when Kyle Lowry made two free throws at 6:51.

Dallas then ran off 11 straight points - six of them by Nowitzki - to take its largest lead to that point at 69-48.

The Mavericks led by 23 points at the end of the third quarter after making 11-of-17 shots.

"We weren't as aggressive in the second and third quarters," Memphis rookie guard Mike Conley said. "We had a lot of deflections in the first quarter and a 20-20 game at that point.

"We were playing toe-to-toe with them. I think we just needed to step up defensively, knowing to guard their personnel and trying to stop them from getting the ball into their stars' hands and making easy shots. We let them get away from us."

Gay finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season for the Grizzlies.