Nelson wins No. 300 as Mavs coach

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks seem serious about their
emphasis on defense this time.

With Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley the offensive
centerpieces, the Mavericks can still score a lot of points. But
they might have finally figured out how to slow other teams down.

Once they got over a rough start and got defensive Saturday
night, the Mavericks went on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 112-88
for their third straight win, giving up less than 100 points to
start the season.

"We turned out defensive intensity up a notch and wore them
down," Jason Terry said.

The Grizzlies, a playoff team last season, had a 42-30 lead and
had made 17 of their first 30 shots before Dallas coach Don Nelson
called timeout with 8:48 left in the first half.

After Nelson's talk, the tone of the game quickly changed.

"We came out lethargic and they took advantage of it," Finley
said. "We weren't playing the same ball we did the first two games
and coach let us know about it."

Within six minutes, Dallas had the lead for good. And Memphis
was in a shooting slump that wouldn't end.

The Grizzlies (0-3) made just 15 of 55 shots after that, and had
just 35 points in the second half -- matching their first-quarter

"Absolutely, I'm concerned," Memphis coach Hubie Brown said.
"We were one of the best shooting teams in the league last year,
and have the same guys here. We're just struggling to find our

Finley had 23 points for Dallas and Nowitzki had 22, including a
nifty basket that turned into a three-point play in Dallas'
game-turning surge. Nowitzki also had 13 rebounds.

Nowitzki was fouled hard by Mike Miller as he drove to the
basket in the second quarter. Instead of giving up on the play,
Nowitzki shifted the ball to his right hand, flipping it toward the
basket as he fell to the ground.

The ball went in, and he added a free throw to get the Mavericks
to 48-46 with 4:14 left in the half. After a Memphis turnover,
Nowitzki missed his next shot, but Josh Howard followed it to tie
the game.

"I felt the foul, and I just got the ball up in the air,"
Nowitzki said. "It was a lucky shot. I'm not going to take credit
for that."

But it counted, and it was a huge momentum boost for his team.

New Mavericks center Erick Dampier had 13 points and 18
rebounds, while Terry had 15 points and rookie Devin Harris added
14. All three Dallas wins are against playoff teams from last

"You finally saw the real Dampier," Nelson said. "He and
Nowitzki rebounded, scored and did all the things you would expect
them to do."

It was Nelson's 300th win in his eighth season as the Mavericks
coach, moving him within 30 of Dick Motta for the most wins in
franchise history. Nelson has 1,151 career wins, second behind
Lenny Wilkens.

Pau Gasol led Memphis with 18 points, including a stretch of 10
straight in the first quarter.

It was the 7-foot power forward on the other side who pushed his
team to a win.

Dallas never trailed after Nowitzki's 17-foot jumper tied the
game at 50. Gasol then made a bad pass and Harris drove for the
go-ahead layup.

That was all part of a 47-16 run for Dallas, which had a 77-58
lead by time Harris hit a 3-pointer with 4:32 left in the third

Stromile Swift had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, and
Earl Watson added 14 points.

Watson's 3-pointer in the opening minute of the second quarter
put Memphis ahead 38-26. The Grizzles still had a 12-point lead
when Watson drove for a layup three minutes later before Nelson's

Game notes
The Grizzlies have lost eight straight games in Dallas,
their last win coming Nov. 8, 2000. ... Nowitzki had 16 points and
nine rebounds at the half, when Dallas led 57-53. ... Shawn
Bradley, Dallas' 7-6 center, was called for a technical foul in the
final minute after taking a swat at 6-5 Dahntay Jones, who hung on
the rim and on Bradley's shoulder while defending a play. Bradley
patted Jones on the head, then walked away smiling.


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