After getting blown out in their previous game, the Dallas Mavericks looked to be in danger of suffering another tough loss Sunday. Jason Kidd made sure that didn't happen.
Kidd seeks to build on his clutch road performance Tuesday night as the Mavericks host the Southwest Division rival Memphis Grizzlies, whom they've beaten 12 consecutive times.
Dallas (15-11) lost 121-97 to the Nets on Friday night in Kidd's first return to New Jersey to face the team he helped lead to two NBA finals appearances over six-plus seasons. The Mavericks acquired him at last season's trade deadline.
That was likely a tough loss for Kidd to swallow, and falling on the road to woeful Washington on Sunday night could have been just as bad. Kidd missed all seven of his field goal attempts and finished with one point, but he also had 11 assists - including six in the final 6:05 - as the Mavericks outscored the Wizards 27-18 in the fourth quarter to pull out a 97-86 victory.
"The something that was going on was Jason Kidd," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was beautiful basketball to watch."
Jason Terry had 25 points with four 3-pointers in 32-plus minutes off the bench Sunday. He is averaging 24.7 points while shooting 51.9 percent from the field over his last six contests. On Sunday, though, he agreed the story was Kidd.
"The greatest point guard in the world. The best who's ever done it," Terry said of Kidd, the active leader and fifth all-time with 9,711 career assists. "He can always impact the game even if he doesn't score any points. He had so many assists. In the last four minutes of the game, he totally controlled the game."
Kidd hopes to carry his strong play back to American Airlines Center, where the Mavericks have won seven of nine after an 0-4 home start.
Dallas' first home win of the season was a 91-76 victory over Memphis (9-18) on Nov. 21 - the Grizzlies' 12th straight loss to the Mavericks since their last win in the series Nov. 26, 2005.
Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Kidd added 18 points, 13 rebounds and six assists with four 3-pointers in the Mavericks' first meeting with the Grizzlies. O.J. Mayo led Memphis with 19 points, but the rookie guard shot just 8-for-23 from the field.
The young Grizzlies showed signs of growth during a season-high four-game winning streak from Dec. 8-14, but they've followed that run with three straight losses by an average of 15.0 points.
They gave the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers a challenge Monday night, but faded in the final minutes, giving up 17 of the game's last 20 points to fall 105-96.
"We battled for three and a half quarters," Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni said. "Unfortunately, 3 1/2 quarters isn't enough to beat the Lakers. We didn't play very well down the stretch."
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