Mavs Stun Grizzlies for 10th Straight Victory
Dallas 81, Memphis 80
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Feb. 1 (Ticker) -- Jason Terry continues to display the type of fourth-quarter heroics that the Memphis Grizzlies long for.
Terry scored nine of his 15 points during a late surge that was capped by Dirk Nowitzki's two free throws with 7.2 seconds remaining as the Dallas Mavericks rallied for their 10th straight win, an 81-80 victory over the stunned Grizzlies.
"Coach put the ball in my hands and said, 'Get aggressive,'" Terry said. "That's what I did. It's just something about the fourth quarter."
Erick Dampier added a pair of free throws and Terry made another jump shot to draw the Mavericks within 75-74 with 3:14 to go.
"This was a playoff-caliber game tonight and for us to come out with the win tonight, we're excited," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "Jason Terry woke up in the fourth quarter like he's historically done, and he was right on time."
Mike Miller restored a three-point lead for the Grizzlies with a pair of free throws before Terry came down and connected on a pull-up 3-pointer to tie it with 1:54 left.
"Coach yelled at us real good (during a timeout), and (Terry) came out firing," Nowitzki said. "He really played aggressive. He's done it so many times for us."
Memphis' Chucky Atkins answered with a 3-pointer of his own with 40 seconds remaining, marking the Grizzlies' first basket since Atkins made a layup with 5:40 to go.
On the Mavericks' next trip, Nowitzki found Dampier for a dunk to create a one-point game. After Atkins missed a pair of free throws, Dallas again turned to Nowitzki despite the fact that the German superstar had not scored since the 7:17 mark of the third quarter.
But Nowitzki came through, driving to the basket and drawing a foul from Eddie Jones before converting a pair of foul shots to create the final margin.
"I wasn't having a good fourth quarter," said Nowitzki, who made only 7-of-18 shots and committed four of the Mavericks' 14 turnovers. "I said if I was going to get another shot, I'd get as close to the basket as I could. I did that little spin move and got fouled."
Miller, who shot just 3-of-12 from the floor, missed an off-balance runner on the Grizzlies' final possession.
"We played a hard game against a dangerous team," Grizzlies head coach Mike Fratello said. "They made some hard plays down the stretch, and we just couldn't execute in the fourth. Jason made some big shots for them and that was pretty much it."
Pau Gasol scored 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds but disappeared down the stretch with two fourth-quarter points for Memphis, which lost for the fourth time in six games.
"There's a sense of urgency to win right now," Gasol said. "We have got to put a couple of good games together."
Gasol misfired on 6-of-7 attempts in the fourth quarter, when the Grizzlies shot just 28 percent (5-of-18) and were outrebounded 16-6.
Josh Howard scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half and Nowitzki 14 of his 18 in the opening 24 minutes for the Mavericks, who improved to 36-10 and moved into sole possession of first place in the Southwest Division.
Terry finished 7-of-15 from the field and contributed two steals as Dallas held its 10th straight opponent under 100 points for the first time in franchise history.
"We've been relying on our defense a lot more," Terry said. "That's starting to be our motto, and it's becoming our reputation. We're working hard and trying to rely on defense first for wins."