Mavericks complete sweep of Grizzlies


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – The Dallas Mavericks wanted to get this one over quickly. They sure picked the right opponent.

Dirk Nowitzki had 27 points and Josh Howard had 24 to lead the Mavericks over the Grizzlies 102-76 on Monday, Dallas’ first best-of-seven sweep and an NBA-record 12th consecutive playoff loss for Memphis.

“You always want to close it out when you have the chance,” Nowitzki said. “We have some guys with some injuries, but I think we’ll be all right in the second round.”

Nowitzki, who averaged 32.7 points in the first three games, was 12-of-21 from the floor and made all three of his 3-point shots, while Howard was 9-of-17. Howard had nine rebounds.

Pau Gasol led Memphis with 25 points and Mike Miller scored 10. They were the only Grizzlies in double figures.

The Grizzlies were swept for the third time in three consecutive playoff appearances, and fans began filing out of FedExForum early in the final period. Announced attendance was 15,104. The Grizzlies put a sellout at 18,119.

The Grizzlies already had the longest losing streak of any playoff team before a first postseason victory. The previous record of 11 consecutive playoff losses was set by Baltimore and matched by Denver.

Dallas also got 19 points from Jerry Stackhouse and 12 from Jason Terry.

Dallas began pulling away in the third period and went up 62-47 following an 11-4 run that was sparked by two 3-pointers by Nowitzki.

and steals by Nowitzki and Terry. Gasol lost the ball during the Dallas run when he bounced the ball off his foot on a dribble.

Though trailing Dallas from early in the first period, the Grizzlies stayed close until the final minutes of the half when Memphis turnovers helped the Mavericks launch a 10-4 run to break for intermission with a 48-39 lead.

Gasol, who had 19 points in the half, committed an offensive foul late in the second period leading to a 22-foot jumper by Howard. Less than a minute later, Gasol lost the ball by traveling and Shane Battier fouled Howard outside the arc, setting up three foul shots for Dallas. Howard, who led Dallas with 15 points in the half, hit them all.

As they did in their overtime loss in Game 3, the Grizzlies started with an energy that was missing in both games in Dallas.

Gasol led all scorers in the first quarter, going 4-of-6 for 12 points. Nowitzki and Howard each had eight points for the Mavericks, who ended the period up 26-23.

Notes: Memphis G Eddie Jones did not start because of an injury to his right hand in Game 3 on Saturday. Jones, who started in all 78 regular and postseason games he played in this season, wore a padded glove on his hurt hand when he entered the game at the start of the second quarter. He was in for five minutes and scored no points. … Miller, the NBA’s Sixth Man winner, started for Jones. … In another lineup change for Memphis, rookie F Hakim Warrick started for Jake Tsakalidis. Gasol, who normally starts at power forward, started at center. Tsakalidis was ineffective in the first three games of the series, averaging 3.7 points and 3.7 rebounds and played only six minutes in each of the last two. … Dallas reserve G Marquis Daniels was sidelined with a right leg strain. He was averaging 4.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in the playoffs.

AP-ES-05-01-06 2253EDT