DALLAS -- The Mavericks are willing to credit the San Antonio Spurs with an assist.
It was obvious that a fatigued version of the Memphis Grizzlies showed up at the American Airlines Center on Saturday night, 24 hours after their grueling overtime win over the Spurs in a Western Conference heavyweight battle. The Mavs didn’t mess around, building a double-digit lead in the first half and cruising to a 104-83 win.
“It was clear they were lacking some energy from the game last night -- overtime, emotional -- and we need to take advantage of it,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “And we did.”
They sure did.
Whether Memphis was at its best really doesn’t matter to the Mavs. A team that recently lost 10 of 11 games can’t be too picky about its wins.
The Mavs have a winning streak for the first time in a little more than a month. Following up Thursday’s overtime win with a blowout victory -- featuring a 34-point lead at one point, the Mavs’ largest of the season -- is a much-needed morale lift.
“It just felt good to be on the other side of a blowout for once,” Dirk Nowitzki said, kind of kidding but well aware that the Mavs’ nine losses by 19-plus points are the most in the NBA this season.
Added Vince Carter: “It just changes the mood around here. Of course, winning changes everything, but hopefully it helps us lock in and remain focused and see if we play this way, if we do the little things, that’s what’s going to help us win.”
Carlisle will still have some nitpicks in the Sunday film session. But it’s a lot easier to watch your mistakes and learn from them when the black cloud of losing isn’t booming thunder overhead.
“It’s not to say that our morale was down necessarily,” Carlisle said. “We just had not bore much fruit from our efforts. It’s good to have some tangible results.”
It wasn’t flawless, but this was as good as it’s gotten for the Mavs this season. Shawn Marion led six players who scored in double figures, putting up a season-high 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Dallas shot 48.8 percent from the floor, made 11-of-17 3-point attempts, had 26 assists and only nine turnovers. The Mavs won the battle of the boards by a 48-41 margin against one of the NBA’s best rebounding teams.
“Taking small steps, but that was big right there,” O.J. Mayo said. “They’ve been one of the top teams in the league. They had a tough game last night, but I thought we did the right thing. That’s showing growth, maturing. They were a little tired and beat up from a tough game last night, and we came and put it on them.”