28-18 fourth quarter does it for Memphis


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies know how to protect a lead in the fourth quarter.

The Grizzlies ran away from Dallas in the final period Tuesday night, outscoring the Mavericks 28-18 en route to a 109-92 victory. Memphis has now won 21 of 22 games when it has led after three quarters.

"We expect to win now. We have that little extra sense of urgency, and we need to play with that energy," Memphis forward James Posey said. "We know if we are playing our style of basketball, we can beat anybody."

Posey had 19 points and Stromile Swift added 18 as the Grizzlies won their 20th home game -- and six of its last seven -- to tie the franchise record for home victories set last season. The Grizzlies moved nine games over .500 for the first time in franchise history and gave Hubie Brown his 400th win as an NBA coach.

Memphis opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run and extended its lead to 99-80 with six minutes left when Posey tipped in his own miss.

"When we have five or six guys in double figures, we play our
best," Brown said. "[Dallas] got a lot of rebounds, but we got a
lot of passes that found open guys. We had 25 assists in the game,
and that was huge."

Pau Gasol scored 17, while reserve Earl Watson added 12, and
Shane Battier and Jason Williams each had 11 for Memphis. Battier
grabbed nine rebounds and Williams had eight assists.

Memphis' bench outscored the Mavericks' reserves, 53-29.

"We had an awful lot of players that just played awful,"
Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "It was as bad as I've seen some of
them play in a long time. To be quite honest with you, we didn't
play well enough to win."

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 24 points, while Michael
Finley, who helped a third-quarter spurt for Dallas, finished with
15. Antawn Jamison and Josh Howard had 10 points each, and Howard
pulled down 11 rebounds.

Memphis led 54-47 after a rusty first half by both teams.
Dallas, which trailed by as many as nine in the half, shot 38
percent from the field. Steve Nash had all eight of his points in
the half, beating Jason Williams off the dribble several times.

"It takes a couple of games to get back," Dallas reserve Danny
Fortson said of the first game after the All-Star break. "You can
see that by the way we played in the first quarter with everybody
throwing the ball away."

Dallas controlled the inside, outscoring Memphis in the paint
32-22 before intermission, although Memphis held a slight edge on
the boards.

Finley brought the Mavericks back to tie it in the third by
scoring eight points in three straight possessions.

But Memphis used the inside play of Swift to take an 81-74 lead
into the fourth quarter.

"This is one of the best teams in the league so we can't really
hang our heads." Nash said of the Grizzlies. "We've got to
realize we didn't play well enough to win. You've got to play
pretty darn well to win here."

Game notes
Each of the Grizzlies starters took five shots in the first
half. ... Memphis G Mike Miller left the game early in the third
quarter with the back spasms that have hampered him for weeks. ...
The Grizzlies won both home games against the Mavericks, assuring
them of at least a split of the season series with Dallas for the
first time. ... The Mavericks hit only two of 11 3-pointers and
have hit only 34-of-120 from outside the arc over the past seven
games. ... Antawn Jamison played in his 299th consecutive game.