Mavericks 94, Grizzlies 89

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Dirk Nowitzki scored 36 points, including a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime and six points in the extra period, to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 94-89 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies for a 3-0 lead in the first-round series.

The Grizzlies, still without a postseason victory, slowed the Dallas offense that had overpowered them in first two games and held off the Mavericks until late in regulation. However, Nowitzki and the Mavs were simply too much.

Dallas outscored Memphis 18-13 in overtime, led by Nowitzki and Jason Terry who had five points in the extra period to finish with 22. Game 4 is Monday in Memphis.

Pau Gasol, the Grizzlies’ scoring leader who has struggled against the Mavericks, scored 16 points – two in overtime.

Chucky Atkins had 20 points to lead Memphis, but missed the Grizzlies’ final shot in regulation on an attempted layup.

The Grizzlies dropped to 0-11 in the playoffs, the longest losing streak of any playoff team before a first postseason victory. They also tied the NBA record for consecutive playoff losses set by Denver in 1994. Memphis, in the playoffs for the third time in franchise history, was swept last year by Phoenix and the year before by San Antonio.

Josh Howard had 16 points Jerry Stackhouse added 10 for Dallas.

Eddie Jones scored 14 for Memphis. Hakim Warrick scored 11, and Shane Battier and Lorenzen Wright added 10 each. Wright also had 10 rebounds.

After trailing from the first quarter, Dallas took a 69-67 lead with 5:39 left in the final period on back-to-back jumpers by Nowitzki.

He scored six of the Mavericks’ final eight points in third quarter, the last two from the free-throw line, to pull Dallas to 61-60.

Warrick, fouled by Devin Harris with less than 1 second left in the first half, hit two free throws to give Memphis a 46-38 advantage at the break.

The Grizzlies came out early with an offensive energy that eluded them in Dallas and took a 23-13 lead with just under 1 minute left in the first quarter on a layup by Bobby Jackson.

In Dallas, the Grizzlies’ largest lead was four points in Game 2.

In losing three of four to Dallas in the regular season, the Grizzlies started with a 112-92 victory in which Gasol had 36 points and 15 rebounds. The Mavericks adjusted their defense and limited Gasol to averages of 19 points and seven rebounds in the remaining matchups.

Gasol had 24 points in Game 1 in Dallas and 16 in Game 2. Nowitzki had 31 points in each.

AP-ES-04-29-06 2137EDT

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