Howard leads Mavs past Griz

1-28-08 - Josh Howard hit his first eight shots on the way to 26 points and the Dallas Mavericks shot 54 percent in a 103-84 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.

Howard ended the night 10-of-17 for Dallas, which won its fourth straight and 12 in the last 14. It also was the Mavericks 13th straight win over the Grizzlies, including a sweep of Memphis in the opening round of the 2006 playoffs.

Dirk Nowitzki added 20 points and 11 rebounds and Jason Terry finished with 14 points for the Mavericks. Erick Dampier contributed 11 points and 12 rebounds in the first game of a four-game trip that will take Dallas to Boston, Detroit and Orlando.

Rudy Gay led Memphis with 18 points, Kyle Lowry scored 17 and Juan Carlos Navarro had 16 points. Pau Gasol, finished with 13 points for Memphis, which lost its third game in the last four.

Memphis never led and never even threatened the Mavericks. Dallas put the game away early with accurate shooting coupled with domination on the boards and in the middle.

The Mavericks finished the night with a 47-33 advantage on the boards, and outscored the Grizzlies 52-36 in the paint, eventually building the lead to as many as 29.

A weak Memphis defense gave the Mavericks open shots and Dallas made 70 percent in the first quarter, with Howard going 5-for-5.

While Dallas couldn't maintain that accuracy, the Mavericks did shoot 63 percent for the half and carried a 61-44 lead into the break, matching its largest advantage of the first half.

Howard led the way with 21 points in the first half. Nowitzki had 12.

Lowry and Navarro had 11 points each for Memphis, but the Grizzlies' 48 percent shooting couldn't keep pace with the Mavericks, particularly since Dallas outrebounded the Grizzlies 21-13.

Dallas continued to extend the lead in the second half, eventually building the advantage to 29 before carrying a 84-63 lead into the fourth.