Monday, January 28, 2008

Mavs overpower Grizzlies

MEMPHIS – Two of the Mavericks’ top five scorers were laid up back in Dallas on Monday night. It mattered little, at least for one game.

The remaining boys wearing blue had more than enough in their tanks to pick up the slack for their missing teammates. Josh Howard played the part of conductor as the Mavs rolled over the Grizzlies 103-84 before a listless crowd at FedEx Forum.

“Mainly our guys were focused,” Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. “They played tough on both ends and stuck with the game plan. We established our post game early in the game. We were physical which set the tone for the rest of the game.”

Howard scored 26, including 21 during a perfect first half, as Dallas (31-13) extended its winning streak to four against one of its Southwest Division neighbors. Memphis (13-32) isn’t the same team that met the Mavs in the playoffs two summers ago.

Starting point guard Devin Harris and key reserve Jerry Stackhouse – fourth and fifth, respectively, in Dallas’ scoring pecking order – are both out of the lineup nursing injuries. Jason Terry slid into the starting lineup for Harris, with JJ Barea and Trenton Hassell showcasing the bench’s depth.

“When we’ve been healthy and whole, I think they did a good job,” Johnson said of the bench. “We had a little moment there where we were healthy, we had a chance to see our team, but now we have two guys that are out of the rotation, so some other guys are going to have to play.”

The Mavs were in control from the start, taking their lead from Howard. If he’s making a late bid to impress Western Conference coaches, the first 24 minutes against Memphis can’t hurt any All-Star campaign.

No comments: