01/31/2007 Mavericks @ Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Dirk Nowitzki overcame a tough shooting night with 26 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 95-94 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
Nowitzki shot 8-of-20 from the field but hit all 10 of his free throws, including eight in the fourth period to hold off the Grizzlies, who lost for the third time in the last four games.
Mike Miller led the Grizzlies with 32 points, including 20 in the fourth quarter. His 30-footer with 5 seconds left got Memphis within 93-91, but a pair of free throws by Nowitzki put Dallas up by 95-91.
Chucky Atkins then hit another 30-footer for Memphis with less than a second left for the final margin.
Jerry Stackhouse and Jason Terry added 20 points apiece for Dallas, which has won 24 of 26. Erick Dampier scored 15 points, missing only one of his seven shots from the field, and grabbed eight rebounds. Nowitzki had 11 rebounds.
Hakim Warrick had 15 points for Memphis, while Pau Gasol finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Mavericks missed only one of their 25 free throws. They outscored Memphis 38-24 in the paint and 18-6 in second-chance points.
Dallas led 40-33 at the break behind 12 points from Terry and Dampier's 11 points.
The Mavericks showed their inside dominance early, primarily with Dampier scoring easily, hitting his first five shots. Memphis coach Tony Barone became so fed up with Gasol's defense against the Mavericks' center, that he sent the Grizzlies' leading scorer to the bench midway through the opening quarter after Dampier's first four field goals.
Meanwhile, Nowitzki connected on his first three shots to give Dallas an early lead. Dallas would lead by as many as 10 in the first half.
Memphis seemed completely out of sync on offense, fumbling the ball and shooting poorly. Gasol missed six of his first seven shots, and even the Grizzlies' effort to run on the break was thwarted by Dallas getting back on defense.
The Mavericks pushed the Grizzlies outside their normal shooting zone and pressured them throughout the first half. No Memphis player was in double figures and Gasol was 2-of-10 in the half.
Still, Memphis stayed close to Dallas thanks to the Mavericks' 7-of-23 shooting in the second quarter.
The Grizzlies used better shooting in the third quarter and eventually took the lead late in the period when Atkins scored on a layup. But a 3-pointer by Greg Buckner gave Dallas a 63-61 advantage heading into the fourth.
Miller keyed the fourth-quarter Memphis rally from outside the arc, hitting all five of his 3-pointers in the fourth period.
Game notes Memphis, which was coming off Monday night's 124-117 victory over the Kings, still has not won two straight this season. ... G Will Conroy, the rookie out of the University of Washington signed by the Grizzlies to a 10-day contract earlier this week, played 2 scoreless minutes in his first game for Memphis. ... Austin Croshere, who had a career night with 34 points and seven rebounds against Seattle on Tuesday night, had no points and missed all four of his shots. ...The FedExForum for some reason was a little chilly, perhaps due to sub-freezing temperatures outside. "Did we cut back on the heat in here?" Barone asked in the game's early minutes. ... Mavericks G Josh Howard was not with the team for the second straight game awaiting the birth of his first child.