DALLAS (AP) - Dirk Nowitzki is coming along gradually. Maybe the Dallas Mavericks are, too.
Nowitzki scored 17 points and was one of three Dallas starters who didn't miss from 3-point range, and Shawn Marion had a season-high 20 to lead the Mavericks to consecutive wins for the first time in a month with a 104-83 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.
The Mavericks, three days removed from dropping 10 games under .500 for the first time in 13 years, beat a team with a winning record for just the fourth time this season. They did it soundly, too, taking their first 30-point lead of the season and coasting through the fourth quarter.
``It's the kind of game we need,' Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. ``We need more of these, but they're hard to come by.'
The Grizzlies were ragged a night after a big overtime win against Southwest Division-leading San Antonio. Memphis shot 38 percent and Rudy Gay was the only starter in double figures, in part because all five of them sat out the entire fourth quarter. Gay led the Grizzlies with 12 points.
``We didn't have maybe one, maybe one-and-a-half starter that could bring it,' Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ``Our focus and concentration wasn't there.'
All five starters scored in double figures for Dallas, with Chris Kaman stringing together eight straight in the third quarter and finishing with 14. O.J. Mayo had 11 and Darren Collison 10.
The Mavericks were 11 of 17 from 3-point range, and the starters made eight of nine. Nowitzki hit three, Mayo two and Collison had one. Marion was the only starter to miss, going 2 of 3.
``Taking small steps, but that was big against one of the top teams in the league,' Mayo said. ``They were tired and beat up from a tough game last night and we put it on them.'
Nowitzki had another solid night after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said earlier he wasn't trading his star forward despite the team's struggles. Dallas hadn't won consecutive games since taking three straight from Dec. 6-10, the last time the Mavericks were over .500.
The 7-foot German, who missed the first 27 games of his 15th NBA season after the first knee surgery of his career, scored in double figures for the seventh straight game after struggling in limited minutes through the first four.
Nowitzki's last 3-pointer - all net from the top of the key - made it 95-65 early in the fourth quarter after Elton Brand, who had 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds, had put the Mavericks up 30 late in the third.
``It felt good to be on the other side of a blowout win,' Nowitzki said. ``I thought we really from the beginning set a good tone. We gave them nothing easy.'
Marion had 12 points in the first half and Nowitzki added 11 while the Mavericks built a 15-point lead behind 53-percent shooting, including 6 of 8 from 3-point range. Marion and Nowitzki combined to make 14 of 21 shots for the game.
``Being aggressive and just picking my shots,' said Marion, who had a season high for the second straight game after scoring 19 in an overtime win at Sacramento on Thursday. ``I have been really trying to get my teammates going and in the process get myself going.'
Collison put the Mavericks ahead for good with a first-quarter layup that started a 17-4 run for a 30-18 lead early in the second quarter. The Mavericks, who have lost eight games by 20 points, led by double digits the rest of the game.
Nowitzki's second 3-pointer early in the second half was followed by Kaman's streak of eight straight points, capped by a reverse layup that put Dallas ahead 65-45 with 8:12 left in the third.
With Dallas leading by 26 to start the fourth quarter, Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol were all on the bench in another bad loss in Texas for the Grizzlies. Memphis was beaten by 25 at Houston last month.
Randolph, who entered the game leading the NBA with 24 double-doubles, had six points and four rebounds.
NOTES: Memphis coach Lionel Hollins reiterated comments from a day earlier that he'd like to keep the Grizzlies together with Gay's name consistently turning up in trade rumors. The trade deadline is Feb. 21. Hollins says the Grizzlies are ``legitimate contenders.' ``That's usually when you're trying to get there, you win a lot of games but you don't do well against the contenders. You might win one or two. But we've been able to compete with every last one of them,' Hollins said. Memphis beat division-leading San Antonio in overtime on Friday. ... The Mavericks snapped an NBA record-tying 10-game losing streak in overtime games with Thursday's 117-112 win at Sacramento. ... The Mavericks had nine turnovers, ending Memphis' NBA-best streak of 138 straight games of forcing at least 10 turnovers.
The Associated Press News Service
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