DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki gave the Mavericks a boost in his return to the lineup, while the short-handed Grizzlies lost another starter to injury.
Nowitzki scored 20 points after missing a game with a stomach virus and Dallas defeated Memphis 105-88 on Wednesday night.
The Mavericks (15-10) have won two straight to equal their season high of five games over .500. Memphis (10-15) has lost five in a row and seven of eight.
Nowitzki added six rebounds, five assists, two steals and one blocked shot. He scored four points during a 10-2 run after the Grizzlies cut a 16-point deficit to four in the third quarter.
"I didn't feel great Monday in practice," the 16-year veteran said. "We didn't have a game for another two days, so by Tuesday I was a lot better and today I felt fine. I used the break to get healthy."
Mavericks teammate Monta Ellis, who scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to help squelch a Memphis rally, said Nowitzki didn't look as if he hadn't played a game in a week.
"Even when he came back to practice, he didn't look like that. He's been in the league so long that he knows how to take care of his body," Ellis said.
Jose Calderon, in his first season with Dallas, scored 12 points, including two 3-pointer in the second quarter. He said he was "amazed" by Nowitzki.
"He makes everything look so easy. I was amazed how the guys guarding him kept jumping, and he just waited and knocked down the shot," Calderon said.
While the Mavericks got their star forward back, Memphis was without three injured starters.
Tayshaun Prince missed his first game this season because of a sore left knee, and the Grizzlies already were without point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol. They dressed only 10 players for the game.
Tony Allen led the Grizzlies with 16 points and matched a career high with 11 rebounds — 10 on the offensive end. But he left in the fourth quarter because of a cut on his pinkie that required three stitches.
"I'm going to try to play (Saturday at New York)," Allen said. "I don't want to sit out and do all that behind-the-scenes treatment."
Grizzlies coach David Joerger thought playing short-handed might have caught up to his team when it lost the momentum of a third-quarter rally that reduced Dallas' lead from 65-49 to 66-62.
"We got an offensive rebound when we were down six and had a turnover. I should have probably called a timeout at that point. Then we miss a layup, they score and I do call a timeout when we are down 10," Joerger said.