Dallas Mavericks

Nowitzki dominates down the stretch


MEMPHIS – Not much went Dirk Nowitzki’s way in the first half of Monday afternoon’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Mavs’ all-time leading scorer was saddled with just two points on 1-on-3 shooting. But when the second half, unfolded, there was Nowitzki time and time again stepping up to the plate like legends of his nature always seem to do.

After Memphis assumed a 91-89 lead with 4:01 remaining in the game, Nowitzki was the catalyst as he scored eight points when the Mavs ended the game on a blistering 14-4 run to defeat the Grizzlies, 103-95, a the FedEx Forum.

As he was describing what transpired in the first and second halves for him, Nowitzki had this matter-of-fact look on his face.

"I didn’t really have a lot of great looks there the first half and I didn’t really want to force it,’’ he said. "I thought we had a decent flow going.

"In the second half I got loose on a couple of shots.’’

A couple?

Nowitzki scored more points in the second half (19) than 18 of the players individually scored in the entire game. He was 6-of-10 from the field in the final half and helped keep the Mavs afloat as the Grizzlies were bearing down on them and staging a major comeback.

"I really love what (Rajon) Rondo did down the stretch, starting to being aggressive and understanding when to pick his spots,’’ center Tyson Chandler said. "And I love seeing Dirk seeing the ball go through the basket, because I know at the end of the day when he gets on a roll he’s on a roll.

‘"So it was good to see him hit some crunch-time baskets, because I know he had been on himself before that.’’

Nowitzki finished with 21 points (7-of-13 shots) and also contributed six rebounds. And he was not about to be denied once the Grizzlies seized momentum late in the game.

"I thought we, at both ends o the floor, really played together,’’ Nowitzki said. "This is a quality win for us.

"That’s how you’ve got to execute against a very good team, especially on the road. It was definitely a fun game to be a part of for our side.’’