Locker Room Buzz: Mavs-Grizzlies

DALLAS -- Some quick hitters from the Dallas Mavericks' locker room after their 111-99 victory the Memphis Grizzlies:

Blair continues to deliver in the paint: In another matchup where he was severely undersized, DeJuan Blair delivered. With his eight points and six rebounds off the bench, Blair is averaging 9.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in 20.3 minutes in the team's first three games. Going into the season, it remained a question where the team would receive a dose of attitude and edginess. It appears that Blair is going to be the player who provides that.

"He's a tough-nosed guy," Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki said of his new teammate. "He goes in [the paint] where it hurts. He's got a big body and pushed people around. That's exactly what we need. We needed a physical presence. He's been great at battling on the inside. He obviously gives up some size every night, but he makes up for it by fighting."

Coming through when it counts: Both Dallas victories have seen the Mavs hold on to a lead in the final five minutes of the game, something that wasn't common last season. With last season's bunch, there were catastrophic turnovers and an inability to get timely stops. This season, the Mavs are 2-for-2 in holding on to secure victories.

"We're a smarter team," said Vince Carter, who again led the Mavs in bench scoring with 11 points. "Guys have been around and understand how to play the game of basketball. We have a lot of scoring power, a lot of guys who are just willing to do whatever is ask. That's the biggest key and the most important thing to our team right now. We have so many guys to do whatever and we have so many guys are ready to go right now. It's a great feeling."

Clarity on competition: It may only be three games, but Nowitzki is clear on what the Mavs are capable of in terms of battling against the playoff contenders in the Western Conference.

"I think we can compete," Nowitzki said. "If we play hard and fight for each other defensively, we can play with anybody. If we don't, we can get embarrassed like we did in Houston in the first half. We're not good enough to coast. We've got to compete at all times."