for this game

Kidd, Mavericks easily dispatch lowly Grizzlies

Feb 23, 2008 - 8:19 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Jason Kidd still hasn't learned how to score in his second turn with the Dallas Mavericks, but he sure can pass.

Kidd dished out 15 assists and Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points as the Mavericks earned a 98-83 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

Jason Terry added 22 points and Josh Howard chipped in 20 and seven rebounds for Dallas, which snapped a two-game slide.

"We feel like we're one of the elite teams in the Western Conference," Terry said. "The sky's the limit for us."

Kidd, who was acquired from the New Jersey Nets last weekend in a seven-player deal, managed just eight points and five assists against six turnovers in his Mavericks' debut on Wednesday.

"He's a great passer," Nowitzki said of Kidd. "That's really what he brings to this team. He pushes the ball. He's always ready for the ball. When he's in the air and he looks like he's got no where to go, he throws a crosscourt pass to wide-open shooters. That's why he's one of the best passers this league has ever seen."

The perennial All-Star did not fare any better from the floor on Friday, shooting 1-of-4 en route to two points, but started to build a rapport with his new teammates with his pinpoint passing.

"I was a little more comfortable tonight just to play basketball," Kidd said. "Leading up to that first game, it had been a bit of a circus. Now, I can concentrate on the game of basketball. That's what I have to do. I'm going to try to execute coach's game plan and do my job."

Kidd turned the ball over just twice in 32 minutes against the Grizzlies and added three steals.

"It's about making the game as easy as possible and finding guys' sweet spots," Kidd said. "So, they don't have to put it on the floor or adjust the ball and just catch it and shoot it.

"You saw that a lot tonight. For me, it's just about asking guys if they want me to put your head up, do they want me to go long and go from there? We're playing catch up. I want to make sure I understand what they're thinking. I have to ask them what they want."

Kidd was confident that his connection with his new teammates will grow stronger in time.

"It's just going to take time," he said. "We've have two good practices. We've only had two practices. At the rate we're building, it's going to take a little time, but we're going to get better."

Dallas had the game in hand by halftime, building up a 62-43 lead at the break. Nowitzki scored 16 points in the first quarter while Terry, Howard and Jerry Stackhouse combined for 18 in the second.

Howard's 3-pointer with 9:36 left in the third capped a 9-2 run to begin the second half and gave the Mavericks their biggest lead of the night at 71-45.

Dallas shot 50 percent (38-of-76) from the floor, including 9-of-19 from the arc.

Memphis pulled as close as 84-75 on Kyle Lowry's layup with 8:21 left in the game, but Terry started and ended a 10-0 run with 3-pointers to put the game away.

Rudy Gay scored 18 points and Hakim Warrick added 15 and nine rebounds for the Grizzlies, who lost their four straight game.

"I was pleased with the effort for the most part," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "There were stretches where we didn't get back well, and we didn't battle enough inside.

"I was pleased with the way the guys handled Nowitzki. There is just too much firepower over there for our guys right now. They bothered our shooters, and we are not going to win a game shooting 38 percent. They did a great job, they are a great team. We need to work on the little things."