MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki has impressed opposing
players and coaches with his imposing size and exceptional athletic
Nowitzki scored 32 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in the Dallas
Mavericks' 98-85 victory over Memphis on Saturday night, sending
the Grizzlies to their second loss in as many games since Hubie
Brown retired suddenly as coach.
It was Nowitzki's 10th double-double of the young season.
"Dirk is such a freak," Grizzlies interim coach Lionel Hollins
said. "This guy is 7-foot and plays like a guard. The guy is just
a great player. ... There's no more that needs to be said about
Mike Miller led Memphis with 20 points, and Pau Gasol had 16
points and 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies. It was the team's first
home appearance since Brown announced his retirement Thursday,
citing unspecified health reasons.
Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said that former Atlanta and
Cleveland coach Mike Fratello met with president of basketball
operation Jerry West about the position. Fratello has been
mentioned as the replacement for the 71-year-old Brown.
Memphis went without a field goal for a span of almost 11
minutes as Dallas erased a 10-point lead in the third period. By
the time Memphis made another field goal -- on Shane Battier's
jumper with 5:21 left -- Dallas had built an 87-78 lead.
From there, Dallas coasted and built the lead to as many as 14
behind Nowitzki's shooting and baskets by guard Jason Terry, who
finished with 10.
"The key to the game was the defense that we had after the
half," Terry said. "Collectively, we had to play solid defense
and run down every rebound. We wanted to get Gasol out of the
paint, and everyone took it as a personal challenge to make that
Gasol said a major difference in the second half was starters
playing at least 35 minutes, where under the Brown 10-man rotation,
they averaged 26-to-30 minutes. The fatigue contributed to the
"I felt more comfortable having fewer guys in the game,"
Hollins said. "I like to put the responsibility on the starters to
play. These guys aren't used to playing big minutes at this stage.
... That's why we started missing shots -- because we were getting
Dallas dominated the inside game, outrebounding Memphis 48-40
and outscoring the Grizzlies in the paint 52-26.
Memphis used a strong shooting first half in which they hit on
49 percent of its shots to take a 58-51 lead into the break. Bonzi
Wells, who finished with 15 points, and Miller scored 13 each in
the first half as the Grizzlies went to a smaller, better-shooting
"We didn't play the way we are capable of playing in the first
half," Dampier said. "We've just got to come out and play the
first half. We can't have another first half like we did
The Grizzlies, already with starter James Posey on the
injured list and reserve F Stromile Swift nursing a scratched
cornea, were also without Brian Cardinal, who injured his right
ankle in Friday's loss to Minnesota. ... The Grizzlies showed a
video montage of Brown during the game's first timeout, drawing a
standing ovation from the Memphis crowd. ... Memphis C Lorenzen
Wright, who started 12 straight games, came off the bench because
of matchup problems. The only game Wright hadn't started was an
opening-night loss to the Wizards as he served a one-game
suspension for fighting in a preseason game.