Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/6

Game 1: Saturday, November 6th
Game 2: Saturday, November 27th
Game 3: Monday, April 11th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 20th

Mavericks 108

(58-24, 29-12 away)

Grizzlies 88

(45-37, 26-15 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, April 20, 2005

    FedExForum, Memphis, TN

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 29 26 31 22108
    MEM 16 25 30 1788

    Top Performers

    Dal: J. Howard 27 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Mem: P. Gasol 18 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast

    Dallas has momentum facing Houston; Memphis drops 5 of 6

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks are rolling into the playoffs, and should be well-rested after coasting through their regular-season finale.

    Josh Howard scored 27 points Wednesday night to lead Dallas to a 108-88 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Mavericks, who will play the Houston Rockets in the first round, closed the season by winning their last nine games and 13 of their final 14.

    "We got hot at the right time, and now we are on the same page, ready for the playoffs," said Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki.

    Memphis, the Western Conference's No. 8 seed, limped into the postseason, losing five of its final six. The Grizzlies will open against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, and Memphis coach Mike Fratello acknowledged the Dallas performance was no way to prepare for the playoffs.

    "I was disappointed with the lack of effort on our part," Fratello said. "Both teams really don't have anything to play for out there, but when you lose by 20, I don't see what you can get out of that.

    "Based on what we did tonight, there are 12 to 14 areas we need to work out. I mean we need a training camp to get ready for Phoenix."

    Dallas was never threatened after building a 19-point lead in the first half, and the Mavericks' starters sat out the fourth period.

    Howard was 11-of-14 from the field and grabbed six rebounds. Nowitzki scored 16 points, Jerry Stackhouse had 13 and Michael Finley 11.

    Pau Gasol led Memphis with 18 points, missing only one of his nine shots, while Bonzi Wells scored 13 points. Mike Miller and James Posey added 12 each for Memphis.

    "I really don't have an answer for tonight," Memphis forward Shane Battier said. "Dallas came in and set the tone early. We had bad turnovers in the beginning, and once we were down (19 points) in the first quarter, I think everyone just packed it in."

    The Mavericks said their play in recent weeks has focused on the playoffs, from their offense to substitutions to intensity.

    "Our confidence is at an all-time high right now," Finley said. "Winning the way we've been winning these games is a testament to that."

    Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are trying to find a way to correct the errors that have plagued them in the season's final weeks. Several Memphis players recalled dropping six of their final seven last season before being swept by San Antonio in the first round.

    "It's disappointing, but the one thing we've got to realize is that the slate is clean now," Miller said. "We've got to be ready to play. Phoenix is going to be a team that gets up and down the court and wants to score.

    "We've got to learn it's time to go now."

    Game notes

    Dallas dominated Memphis this season, winning all three previous games by double-digit margins and an average of 19.3 points. ... The Grizzlies' 45 wins marked the second-best season in franchise history, topped only by last year's 50-win campaign, and their first trip to the playoffs. ... Memphis reserve F Brian Cardinal did not play because of left knee tendinitis.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 108 88
    FGM-FGA 38-73 (.521) 31-69 (.449)
    3PM-3PA 4-11 (.364) 2-14 (.143)
    FTM-FTA 28-33 (.848) 24-28 (.857)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-42 9-27
    Assists 31 16
    Turnovers 14 15
    Steals 9 7
    Blocks 3 6
    Fast Break Points 16 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 22 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 24 0

    Top Performers

    Josh Howard Howard
    Points: 27
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 18
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0