Mavericks 103, Grizzlies 93

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DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks weren’t about to give away their home-court advantage so easily this year.

Having opened last year’s playoffs with two home losses, the Mavericks shredded the NBA’s stingiest defense with 60 first-half points and got key baskets when they needed them the rest of the way in a 103-93 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in the opener of their first-round series Sunday night.

Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 31 points – 19 coming in the early surge – yet what really won this for Dallas was its energy and its depth. Backup center Erick Dampier exemplified both with 12 points, 12 rebounds and plays like a crowd-thrilling dunk off a loose ball just before halftime and an offensive rebound that turned into a three-point play early in the fourth quarter.

Memphis hung on as long it could considering its star player, Pau Gasol, missed all five shots he took in the first half. He swished a jumper at the start of the third quarter and scored 13 in the period, helping the Grizzlies get within 75-74.

But Marquis Daniels, another Dallas reserve, answered immediately with a powerful baseline dunk, sparking a rally that culminated in him taking a steal all the way for a finger-roll layup that made it 96-82. On Memphis’ next possession, Jake Tsakilidis committed a foul and was hit with a technical for complaining.

The frustration was understandable – the Grizzlies are now 0-9 in their postseason history, extending what already was the wrong kind of league record. After being swept by San Antonio and Phoenix the last two years, they were hoping that coming into the playoffs on an 8-1 roll would change their luck.

Memphis’ next chance comes in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

AP-ES-04-24-06 0024EDT

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