DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 and the Dallas Mavericks downed the Memphis Grizzlies 111-99 Saturday night at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks (2-1) sprinted ahead early and held the lead for the rest of the game against their Southwest Division rivals. Nowitzki joined five teammates in double figures, including the entire starting lineup.
“That’s a very good team,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said of Memphis. “That’s a team that’s predicted to be a top three or four team in the West, let alone probably the whole league.
“This is a great win for us. We had a lot of balance. We had a lot of guys step up. We’ll enjoy it for now.”
Dallas forward Shawn Marion had his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Samuel Dalembert nearly joined Marion with 14 points and nine boards. Jose Calderon scored 15 and dished out five assists. Monta Ellis added 18 points and Vince Carter chipped in 11 off the bench.
“We definitely got an opportunity for a lot of guys to have big nights,” said Marion, who leads Dallas with 32 rebounds through three games. “The way we’re moving the ball, it’s just a
matter of who gets it going first or who’s being more aggressive or who’s being in the right place at the right time. We’re sharing the ball, we’re moving it, we’re getting a lot of assists and everybody is helping each other.”
The Grizzlies’ heavy lifters each had solid games. Mike Conley scored 24 and had eight assists. Marc Gasol had 23 points, and Zach Randolph racked up 21 points and 14 rebounds.
The Mavericks were outrebounded and shot a lower percentage from floor, but enjoyed a sizable 18-point edge in made free throws. Dallas took 23 foul shots in the fourth quarter.
The Mavericks, up 73-63 after the third, held a comfortable lead for much of the final period. Dallas kept the Grizzlies (1-2) at bay with a steady parade to the free-throw line down the stretch.
“They went to the basket and they shot a ton of free throws,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. “And that was a big difference in the game. They made 3s, but by and large we just had a tough time guarding them tonight.”
Dallas had its way with the Grizzlies at both ends of the court for much of the first half, but went into the break up only 49-43. Memphis cut into most of a 21-point deficit with a 17-2 spurt to finish the second quarter.
Calderon had 13 points in the half and Nowitzki scored 11. Dalembert had eight points and seven boards. Dallas, though, missed 13 of 18 shots in the second period.
Randolph had 10 points and nine rebounds at intermission. Gasol, Conley and reserve guard Jerryd Bayless each scored eight. Memphis held advantages in fastbreak points (17-10) and points in the paint (20-14).
After missing their first seven shots of the game, the Mavericks finished the first quarter with a 32-12 run to take a 16-point lead. Dallas made 11 of its 18 attempts, with Nowitzki, Marion, Dalembert and Calderon each scoring at least six points.
“We didn’t come out and play with any force,” Joerger said. “But then you’re on the road on a back-to-back, third game in four nights just like they were, and they’re at home. You’ve got to come in and you’ve got to set the tone early. We did not do that, we did not defend, we did not cut hard, and like I said, we just didn’t play with enough force.”
Memphis returns home Monday to face Boston. The Mavericks are off until playing host to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.