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Mayo leads charge as Grizzlies finally top Mavericks

Jan 5, 2009 - 12:47 AM By Jason Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- The 18th time was the charm for the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies snapped a 17-game losing streak to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, riding a fourth-quarter surge to a 102-82 triumph.

Memphis hadn't defeated Dallas since November 26, 2005 and had just seven victories against the Mavericks in franchise history. But the Grizzlies' young core finally had enough after more than three years of futility against the Mavericks. O.J. Mayo scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half, fellow rookie Marc Gasol added 19 and Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick added 18 apiece to lead the way as Memphis earned its first victory over Dallas in 11 tries at FedEx Forum.

"It was a big statement," Warrick said. "It's like that bully in school that's always coming and beating you up, and standing up to him. We finally were able to go out and get that win against them and that's good. I think it's a big step for us."

The Mavericks were within four early in the fourth quarter, but Warrick kicked off an 11-2 run with a pair of free throws and a dunk. Mayo followed with a 3-pointer as the Grizzlies opened a double-digit lead that ballooned as high as 22.

"Clearly the energy level for us went up in the second half. It was a good response to Dirk (Nowitzki) going crazy in the first half," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "I think we played so hard in holding them to 80 points that we had nothing to worry about in terms of crunch time."

Nowitzki's 28 points led Dallas, which was outscored, 26-14, in the fourth quarter. Jason Terry added 13 points.

"They say you can't win all 82 (games), and we couldn't get anything going in the second half," said Nowitzki, who was limited to just six second-half points. "We only scored 14 in the fourth quarter, and that isn't going to cut it."

Dallas forward Josh Howard scored just two first-half points, but his 3-pointer with 8:02 left in the third quarter gave the Mavs their first lead of the game, 56-55.

Howard buried a 20-footer after a Memphis timeout to give Dallas its biggest lead at 58-55, but Mayo and Gay combined to score 18 points in the quarter to help give the Grizzlies a 76-68 lead after three.

"I think those guys are young and hungry," Terry said of Gay and Mayo. "They have tremendous upside. If they keep working, like I know they will, they are going to be superstars in this league. They are young and learning on the fly, but they are doing a good job of playing hard every night."

Gasol scored the Grizzlies' first seven points to stake Memphis to an early 7-2 lead after Dallas connected on just one of its first eight shots.

Gay's putback dunk with 7:20 left in the first period gave the Grizzlies a 13-4 advantage before Nowitzki came alive for Dallas, scoring 10 of the Mavs' next 12 points in an eventual 16-point first-quarter effort.

Dallas trailed, 35-25, after one, but outscored Memphis, 8-2, over the first 5:14 of the second quarter to cut the Grizzlies' advantage to just four.

Gasol's bucket at the 3:44 mark of the second period increased Memphis' lead to 48-37 before Nowitzki and Terry combined to score Dallas' final eight points of the half to leave the Mavs trailing, 50-45, at intermission.

Nowitzki finished with 22 first-half points on 9-of-14 shooting. The rest of the Mavs combined to go just 10-of-25 from the field in the first half.

"Memphis threw a great game at us and we couldn't match it," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "They dominated in every statistical area. You have to give them credit. We made some runs, but we could never sustain it. They battled hard and came out like a team that was tired of losing games."

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