Nowitzki leads Mavs past depleted Grizzlies 105-88
DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points in his return to the lineup and the Dallas Mavericks defeated the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies 105-88 on Wednesday night.
The Mavericks (15-10) have won two straight to equal their season high of five games over .500. Memphis (10-15) has lost five in a row and seven of eight.
Nowitzki added six rebounds, five assists, two steals and one blocked shot. He had four points during a 10-2 run after the Grizzlies cut a 16-point deficit to four in the third quarter.
While the Mavericks got their star forward back following a one-game absence due to a stomach virus, Memphis was without three injured starters.
Tayshaun Prince missed his first game this season because of a sore left knee, and the Grizzlies already were without point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol. They dressed only 10 players for the game.
Tony Allen led the Grizzlies with 16 points and 11 rebounds - 10 on the offensive end.
Memphis' eight offensive rebounds in the third helped the Grizzlies go on a 13-1 run that cut their deficit to 66-62. Zach Randolph scored 10 points during that stretch and finished with 14.
Dallas built the lead back up to 78-66 entering the fourth quarter. Memphis got no closer than 11 during the final 12 minutes.
Monta Ellis scored 16 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter for the Mavericks. Vince Carter had 14 points, Jose Calderon added 12 and Shawn Marion 10.
Samuel Dalembert, who didn't play in Dallas' previous game, came off the bench in the second half to score eight points and grab seven rebounds.
The Mavericks scored the last five points of the first quarter to take a 27-21 lead. Marion had eight points, including two fast-break baskets.
Allen's six points and five rebounds led Memphis, which shot just 9 of 23 (39 percent).
The Grizzlies continued to shoot poorly in the second quarter, finishing the first half 17 for 47 (36 percent). Dallas shot 64 percent (9 for 14) in the quarter.
The Mavericks led by as many as 15 before finishing the first half with a 52-39 advantage. Three players did the damage in the second quarter, combining for all but two of Dallas' points. Nowitzki and Calderon each scored eight points, and Carter had seven.
Nowitzki led the first-half scoring with 14 points, followed by Calderon's 10. Allen also had 10, along with seven of Memphis' 12 offensive rebounds in the half.
Dallas missed its first five 3-point attempts before Carter connected 1:07 into the second quarter. Calderon added two 3-pointers in the period.
NOTES: Conley (24 points), Gasol (23) and Prince (three) combined for 50 points in the previous meeting, a 111-99 Dallas victory on Nov. 2. ... Mike Miller started in Prince's place. Conley (bruised left thigh) missed his second game in a row, and Gasol (sprained MCL in left knee) was out for the 12th consecutive game. The Grizzlies are 3-8 since Gasol was injured. ... Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle also missed the team's previous game Saturday because of a gastrointestinal illness. ... Dallas is 54-18 against Memphis.