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Nowitzki, Kidd power Mavericks over Grizzlies

Nov 22, 2008 - 6:20 AM By John Tranchina PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DALLAS (Ticker) -- What a difference a week has made for the Dallas Mavericks.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points and 10 rebounds while Jason Kidd added 18 and 13 to lead the Mavericks to a 91-76 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

It was the Mavs' fourth straight win, pulling them within one game of the .500 mark at 6-7.

But Dallas' winning ways followed a five-game losing streak which was capped off by a disheartening, 102-100, loss to Orlando at home last Friday, a game in which it blew an 11-point, fourth-quarter lead.

After starting the season 0-4 at home, Dallas won its first contest on its own court after sweeping a three-game road trip earlier in the week.

"This has been such a strong home court for so many years, so to start out with four losses was difficult," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "But the team has responded in the last four games and we just have to build momentum. I give our guys credit, starting in New York, finding a way to win that one and getting things going."

"It's a great feeling when you get your first win at home," said Jason Terry, who added 20 points for Dallas off the bench. "The start of the season has been pretty tough because we've been on the road against good teams.

"The home game against Orlando, that was a winnable ballgame. The light went on then. Then we went to New York and won a tough game in overtime."

Nowitzki has been one of the catalysts for the turnaround, averaging 31.7 points and 12.0 rebounds over the previous three contests to move to fifth in the NBA in scoring.

"Fortunately, Jason Kidd and Dirk imposed their will on the game in the third quarter and that was the difference," Carlisle said.

"They started going to Nowitzki and we don't have an answer for Nowitzki," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "We probably need to just look at that a little bit. He's a great player, he's an all-pro, but obviously, we have to score some points to give ourselves some confidence."

The double-double was the third of the season for Kidd, who also dished out six assists for the Mavericks.

"I try to be there, guys were finding me," said Kidd, who connected on 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. "I just have to keep knocking down shots when they present themselves."

Dallas now has won the last 16 meetings with its division rivals, including a four-game sweep in the first round of the 2006 playoffs.

Rookie O.J. Mayo led Memphis with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Rudy Gay and Mike Conley each scored 14 as the Grizzlies lost for the fifth time in six games.

"It's pretty frustrating," Mayo said of the loss. "At the same time, I feel like we were taking shots that we can make, they're just not going to fall (some nights). We've just got to be disciplined. When the shot is not falling, we've got to get back on defense and make them make tough shots."

"We came out ready to play, they just ran us," Gay said. "Knocked their shots down. They ran their offense a little better. They basically got the shots that they wanted."

Memphis pulled to within nine with 5:14 remaining on a driving, three-point play by Mayo, but that was as close as the Grizzlies would get. Dallas went on a 10-3 run, featuring five points from Kidd, over the next three minutes to put away the game.

"When we can play defense, we feel we're going to get looks," Kidd said. "If we limit teams to one shot and get out and explore, try to get a good shot on the other end, we feel we're going to have more points than our opponent at the end of the night."

After a back-and-forth opening quarter that featured five lead changes, a jump shot by Marc Gasol capped a 9-2 run to put the Grizzlies up 14-8, but the Mavs battled back and the teams entered the second quarter tied at 22-22.

Throughout the second, neither team opened up more than a four-point lead as it exchanged the lead on seven more occasions.

After Gasol's two free throws gave Memphis a 41-37 advantage with 2:56 remaining, Dallas went on a 7-0 run to close the half with a three-point lead.

"Coach was upset with us about the first half," Kidd said. "He called us out, he told us about one, playing defense, and two, making some shots."

The pep talk paid off as the Mavericks picked up where they left off, opening the third quarter with an 13-5 run to open a 57-46 lead with 6 1/2 minutes in after Nowitzki nailed a spin-around, fade-away jump shot. The Mavs continued to build on the advantage and headed into the fourth ahead by 12.

"We were frustrated at halftime as a team because we had not played particularly well and our energy had been inconsistent," Carlisle said. "Jason took it upon himself to energize the game for us.

"It happens with deflections, rebounds, assists, made shots and just an overall presence, and Dirk was great in the third quarter, too."

Dallas played its second straight game without forward Josh Howard, who is listed as day-to-day with a left ankle injury. Second-year forward James Singleton started in his place again and shot 1-of-7 from the floor, scoring five points in just under 30 minutes.

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