Memphis, TN - The Grizzlies and Mavericks squared off in their second preseason games, and Dirk Nowitzki came through for Dallas to power them to a 95-90 win. Both of these teams hope to make some noise in the Western Conference this season, and they both played strong basketball tonight.
Nowitzki scored 20 points on 7-10 shooting, and also recorded six rebounds and three assists. Coming off of a rough season last year, it’s great for Mavericks fans to see Dirk playing at this level once again. New addition Monta Ellis came through with a big game as well, scoring just 11 points, but dishing out eight assists to go along with those 11 points. One of the main question marks about Ellis is whether or not he’s willing to take a lesser scoring role for the good of the team, and tonight was a great first step towards doing just that. Vince Carter (12) and Samuel Dalembert (11) rounded out the double-figure scorers for the Dallas Mavericks.
Power forward Jon Leuer led the way for the Grizzlies by scoring 17 points on 7-12 shooting. Leuer has had very good showings in both of the Memphis preseason games so far, and could be earning himself a large role off the bench. Zach Randolph and Mike Conley both scored 12 points tonight, and looked very strong once again. Nick Calathes (11) and Ed Davis (10) finished the double-figure scorers for the Grizzlies.
Overall, these two teams looked very evenly matched for the majority of the game. The Grizzlies are widely expected to be a serious contender in the West, but are going through a coaching change that could take awhile to get used to. Dallas has a lot of question marks surrounding them, but things appear to be falling into place fairly well, especially with Monta Ellis. If Ellis does decide that he wants to play like a real team player on a consistent basis, he’s going to be a very dangerous playmaker for opposing teams.