DALLAS — Big numbers from power forward Zach Randolph usually mean good things for the Grizzlies. Tuesday night against Southwest divisional rival Dallas was no exception.
Randolph scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, as Memphis overcame the absence of two starters to roll over the Mavericks 109-90 at American Airlines Center.
All-Star center Marc Gasol added 15 points for the Grizzlies, who were without point guard Mike Conley and small forward Tony Allen. Memphis is 11-1 this season when Randolph scores at least 20 points and 22-4 when he records a double-double.
“You can’t say enough about what Zach got going in the second half, but I thought we were sharp,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. “For coming off the second game of a back-to-back, I thought we played with a lot of force and we forced 14 turnovers in the first half.”
“They had some uncharacteristic turnovers, too. I kind of feel like they had an off night, but I thought we played really hard and I was very impressed.”
Midwest Division-leading Memphis (33-12) has won eight of nine games since Randolph’s return from injury, with the lone setback being against Dallas last week.
“They came in and got a win against us and left a sour taste in our
mouth,” Randolph said. “We wanted to come here and play good. Just get off to a fast start and compete and that’s what we did.”
The Mavericks (30-16) weren’t nearly as sharp this time out. Dallas, which started the day sixth in the Western Conference, has dropped three in a row. The Mavs also trail the season series with Memphis 2-1.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle had an explanation for the recent skid.
“Right now, our inability to sustain a high level of full-capacity basketball is our nemesis,” he said. “We got off to a great start tonight. We had great intensity in the game. Then we had a couple of turnovers late in the first quarter. We should have come out of that with at least a four- or six-point lead and it’s tied.”
“It took some of the air out of us. Then their second unit stepped up and they played great and we struggled. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They stepped up their game in a big way and we just were poor tonight.”
Randolph made 10 of 15 shots, including several confidence-draining jumpers as Dallas was trying to rally in the second half.
Memphis shooting guard Courtney Lee and reserve guard Nick Calathes each scored 13. Small forward Vince Carter chipped in with 12 points off the bench against his old team. The Grizzlies shot 53.2 percent.
The Mavericks were paced by 19 points apiece from forward Chandler Parsons and guard Monta Ellis. Power forward Dirk Nowitzki struggled, scoring just 11 in 28 minutes. Center Tyson Chandler had 10 points and only five rebounds.
“We definitely understand that we’ve got to come in, fix some things and make some adjustments,” Chandler said. “This is the first time we’ve lost three games in a row this season and we’re heading into a tough road trip. These games are very important.”
The bench came up big for the Grizzlies during a second-quarter surge which gave Memphis a lead it wouldn’t surrender for the reminder of the night. Led by Calathes and Carter, the backups not only turned up the aggressiveness, but took advantage of Dallas’ carelessness with the ball.
The Grizzlies went into halftime up 54-44, having outscored Dallas’ reserves 26-6. The Mavericks were outshooting the visitors at the break, but 14 turnovers led to 17 Memphis points.
Parsons started the game red hot by knocking down his first four shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, for 10 of the Mavericks’ first 14 points.
The Mavs led throughout the opening quarter, but Calathes scored four points in the final six seconds of the first to tie it at 24-all.