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Mavericks top Grizzlies for 3rd time this season

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Dallas Mavericks beat Memphis for the third time this season and moved two games ahead of the Grizzlies for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 110-96 victory Wednesday night at the FedExForum.

Each team shot almost 54 percent from the floor.

Forward Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas (29-21) with 26 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. It was his fifth straight game with 23 or more points. Forward Brendan Wright had 17 points off the bench for the Mavericks. Center Samuel Dalembert had 14 points and 10 rebounds and guard Monta Ellis also scored 14. Guard/forward Vince Carter contributed 13 points and seven assists off the bench.

Power forward Zach Randolph led Memphis (26-22) with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Shooting guard Courtney Lee scored 22 and forward James Johnson added 17 points and four blocks off the bench. Point guard Nick Calathes finished with 16 points, but had six turnovers. Center Marc Gasol scored 12 points and also had six turnovers.

Randolph had an 11-point third quarter, but the Mavericks still outscored Memphis 26-17 and carried a 78-72 advantage into the fourth quarter. Dallas led by as many as 17, going up 105-88 with 2:57 to play on a Nowitzki three.

Memphis led by as many as nine points in the first half, but settled for a 55-52 lead after the first 24 minutes. Johnson appeared to give the Grizzlies a five-point edge just before halftime, but there was a clock malfunction and after a review by the officials the basket was disallowed.

Both teams shot well, with the Grizzlies at 60.6 percent (20-for-33) and Dallas at 51.3 percent (20-for-39). In fact, both sides shot so well that they combined for just 30 rebounds (15 each).

The Grizzlies grabbed their largest lead at the 1:50 mark in the first quarter when a three from Lee put them up 23-14. Four Grizzlies were in double-figures by halftime with Lee scoring 12, Calathes and Johnson 11 each, and Randolph 10.

Nowitzki and Wright each had 12 first-half points for Dallas and Ellis added 11.

NOTES: Since C Marc Gasol’s return, Memphis has led the NBA in defensive rating (94.3). … In that same span, Dallas has led the league in offensive rating (114.2), but ranked last in defensive rating (112.8). … Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki averaged 30.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 32.8 minutes during a recent four-game homestand that concluded Monday. … Dallas went 3-1 on the homestand and improved to 17-8 at home. … Grizzlies F James Johnson, despite being signed in mid-season, leads the league in blocks on opponent’s 3-point attempts with 14 in just 24 games; two other players are tied at nine. … In his first two starts for injured PG Mike Conley (ankle sprain), Grizzlies G Nick Calathes averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists with 0 turnovers in 34.5 minutes.

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