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Nowitzki carves Memphis zone for 31 points

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki easily found the holes in
Memphis' zone defense.

Nowitzki went 12-of-19 from the field and scored 31 points to
lead the Dallas Mavericks past the Grizzlies 110-103 Friday night,
snapping the Mavs' three-game losing streak.
"We haven't performed well against zones; it's weird,''
Nowitzki said. "But we don't really face zone a lot, and that's
why we seem to struggle against it. They played zone for almost 48
minutes, and I'm glad we were able to attack a little better and
find open shots.''
The Mavericks led by 11 early in the fourth quarter, but Memphis
closed the margin to 100-98 with 4:17 to play on two free throws by
Mike Batiste. Shawn Bradley scored the Mavericks' next six points,
putting them ahead 106-99.
"The whole season, we haven't done a good job of protecting
leads,'' Nowitzki said. "We always seem to relax a little bit and
let the opposing team right back in the game.''
Bradley scored 10 of his 12 points in the period and also had 10
rebounds in the game. Steve Nash added 16 points and 13 assists for
Dallas, which had lost to Sacramento, Minnesota and Milwaukee to
equal its longest losing streak of the season. Friday night's
victory capped a quick three-game, four-night road trip.
Memphis coach Hubie Brown said Dallas simply was too tough for
his Grizzlies.
"They really have a lot of great pieces: the point guards who
can dribble and make great passes, they can see the floor, and in
their perimeter game they can shoot better than Sacramento,'' he
said.
Memphis was led by Pau Gasol's 25 points, two nights after he
had just seven in the Grizzlies' 97-90 win over the Nets.
"I was more aggressive than I was against New Jersey,'' he
said.
The Grizzlies had their best run midway through the third
quarter, when they outscored Dallas 15-2 to take a 69-67 lead on
Shane Battier's 3-pointer with just under five minutes left in the
period. But the Mavericks rallied and finished the quarter leading
85-76.
"We played them tough, but that's the reason they have the best
record in the league right now,'' Battier said. "Nash and Nowitzki
made big shots under pressure situations.''

Game notes
Memphis G Michael Dickerson, who was activated from the
injured list Wednesday, made his first appearance with 2:44 left in
the first quarter. ... Dallas has beaten the Grizzlies 10 straight
times and leads the series 26-4. ... The Grizzlies are 11-15 at
home, while Dallas is 18-8 on the road. ... G Earl Watson, who is
6-foot-1, got his ninth block of the season when he stopped the 7-6
Bradley from scoring early in the final period. ... With 12 points
and 10 rebounds, Bradley got his ninth double-double of the season;
the Mavericks are 27-0 over the past three seasons when he has a
double-double.

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