If ever the Mavericks made a statement in this season of starts and stops, it came Wednesday night.
Maybe you can never be certain that they’ve turned any sort of corner, but their powerful 110-96 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in a game that could be critical come playoff time proved they are growing a few teeth.

Their bite was fierce at FedEx Forum.

The win clinched the season series against the Grizzlies. The Mavericks are 3-0 against them with only the season finale in April left.

More importantly, it pushed the Mavericks to 29-21, the first time this season they have been eight games above .500. Still, there were equal parts optimism and caution after the game when the subject of whether the Mavericks have reached a new level was broached.

“We’ll find out in the next four games where we are,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We got to validate this by playing well Friday [at home against Utah] and then we got a hard road trip. We showed a lot of guts and resolve, but it guarantees nothing beyond tonight. We’re looking for more.

“We’re a team looking to move up in the standings and not just looking to hang on to the eighth spot. Who wants to be in the eighth spot if you got a chance to move up to seven, six, five or four? And that’s what our mindset has to be.”

For one night, all the toughness — both mentally and physically — was on display as the Mavericks held the Grizzlies to 41 points in the second half, outscoring them by 17.

Dirk Nowitzki had 26 points, but quality showings came from many corners.

Samuel Dalembert played another strong game with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Vince Carter dished out a team-best seven assists and Brandan Wright knocked in 17 points. Although the Grizzlies were missing point guard Mike Conley, their leading scorer, there was no doubt this qualified as a huge win.