Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/26

Game 1: Saturday, November 26th
Game 2: Friday, December 9th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 1st
Game 4: Thursday, February 23rd

Grizzlies 87

(30-24, 13-16 away)

Mavericks 97

(43-11, 24-4 home)

Coverage: FSS

7:30 PM ET, February 23, 2006

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
MEM 31 25 20 1187
DAL 22 25 34 1697

Top Performers

Memphis: B. Jackson 18 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast

Dallas: D. Nowitzki 31 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 Blk

Mavericks beat Grizzlies for 13th straight home win

DALLAS (AP) -- With Josh Howard hurt and the Dallas Mavericks struggling on both ends of the court, Dirk Nowitzki knew he had to start scoring.

He and Jason Terry turned into quite a duo against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Nowitzki had 31 points and Terry scored 23, and they sparked the two key runs that pushed the Mavericks to a 97-87 victory Thursday as Dallas won its franchise-record 13th straight home game.

"I felt I had to make a couple of more shots if we were going to win," Nowitzki said. "Josh has been carrying us, and the whole team had to pick it up. I got some good looks and made some shots."

Howard, the leading scorer in six of the previous 10 games, sprained his right ankle late in the first quarter when his feet got tangled with teammate Keith Van Horn on defense. He returned to play most of the second quarter, but not after having X-rays taken at halftime.

Nowitzki and Terry made sure the Mavericks (43-11) would be OK.

After Dallas trailed by as many as 19 points in the second quarter, Nowitzki and Terry combined for all but one basket in a 21-2 run spanning halftime. The Mavs never trailed again after Terry's 15-footer early in the third quarter made it 59-58.

"(Memphis) had that look in their eyes like it was going to be their night," Terry said. "But we started to feed off the crowd, and the momentum started to shift. ... I was just playing the game as it came to me. I was just hitting some shots."

Howard was diagnosed with a mild sprain after X-rays were negative, and was listed day-to-day. The Mavericks play at home Saturday against Toronto.

The Mavericks (43-11), with the best record in the Western Conference, haven't lost at home since Dec. 30 against Golden State and have won 17 of 18 overall.

Memphis had won four straight since a season-worst five-game losing streak that started the month.

Terry and Nowitzki started the game-turning run by producing the last seven points of the first half -- in a span of 34 seconds. The Mavericks, down 50-31 with 4:32 left, cut it to 56-47 by the break.

"They didn't hear much from me at halftime," coach Avery Johnson said. "No throwing chairs, VCRs or Gatorade bottles. I didn't get in anybody's face."

Maybe he already felt the momentum changing.

Nowitzki had an assist on Terry's 15-foot jumper, then Terry had a backcourt steal and made a 3-pointer from the left corner. Nowitzki then had a steal and converted that with a running layup after taking a pass back from Terry to the end the half.

DeSagana Diop made the first basket for Dallas after halftime -- the only basket not made by Terry or Nowitzki in the spurt that ended with the Mavericks' only All-Star hitting a short turnaround with 7 minutes left.

"They just wanted it more," Bobby Jackson said. "We did all the right things in the first 12 minutes, and did all the wrong things from then on out."

Memphis got even at 70-all on Jackson's 3-pointer with 3:19 left in the third quarter. Nowitzki then missed, but Jerry Stackhouse made a 12-foot fadeaway and the Mavericks stayed in front.

Paul Gasol and Jackson had 18 points each for Memphis, which shot 61 percent (23-of-38) before halftime. The Grizzlies were 11-of-40 shooting and scored just 31 points after that.

"We had open shots and we didn't make the shots that we made in the first half," coach Mike Fratello said. "They got in transition and we had some turnovers. ... They had numbers in transition and got some layups."

The Grizzlies closed to 83-82 on a 10-foot jumper by Shane Battier with 7:21 left. Terry responded with a breakaway layup that started a game-ending 14-5 spurt that included six straight points by Nowitzki.

Stackhouse added 12 points for Dallas, and Erick Dampier had 10 rebounds. Nowitzki also had six rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots in his first 30-point game in 16 games.

Chucky Atkins made his first five shots, including consecutive 3-pointers that ignited an 23-7 run that pushed Memphis to an early double-digit lead.

But Atkins failed to score the rest of the way, missing his last five shots.

Nowitzki made a shot before the end of the first quarter, but it was still the first time in 18 home games that the Mavericks trailed after 12 minutes.

Game notes

In the third quarter, Dallas scored on 18 of its 22 possessions, including one when it finally scored on Nowitzki's 19-footer, the fifth shot on that trip. ... The Grizzlies scored just 11 points in the fourth quarter on 4-of-20 shooting.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 87 97
FGM-FGA 34-78 (.436) 38-77 (.494)
3PM-3PA 7-17 (.412) 6-10 (.600)
FTM-FTA 12-14 (.857) 15-21 (.714)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-36 12-41
Assists 14 19
Turnovers 12 10
Steals 6 7
Blocks 6 10
Fast Break Points 6 19
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
Largest Lead 19 10

Top Performers

Bobby Jackson Jackson
Points: 18
Reb: 7
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 31
Reb: 6
Ast: 4
Stl: 1
Blk: 4