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Nowitzki, Terry help Mavs close in on sweep of Grizz

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies played harder and
they looked better. However, the result was the same -- they lost,
and dropped to 0-11 in the postseason.

Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks were just too strong,
beating Memphis 94-89 in overtime Saturday for a 3-0 lead in the
first-round playoff series.

Nowitzki led Dallas with 36 points, including six in overtime,
and it was his 3-pointer that sent the game into the extra period.

"They came out and played real, real hard and actually had a
chance to win the game, but Dirk hit that big 3-pointer for us,"
the Mavericks' Josh Howard said.

The Grizzlies, who lost easily in the first two games of the
series in Dallas, were leading 76-72 with 37 seconds remaining.

With the hometown crowd on its feet, Lorenzen Wright sent the
Mavericks' Jason Terry to the free-throw line with 28 seconds to
play. Terry missed the second of two free throws, and the fans went
wild with the Grizzlies leading by three.

Nowitzki then got the ball with 15 seconds to go and launched it
on a long, graceful arc from the top of the key to tie the score at
76.

"It's one of the toughest losses and it's very disappointing
right now," Memphis leading scorer Pau Gasol said. "Right now,
it's extremely painful."

The Grizzlies started strong with an offensive energy that
eluded them in Dallas, and led most of the game.

"In the first half, we did a great job of pushing the ball up
the floor and attacking. In the second half, we didn't do it. We
totally stopped pushing the basketball," said Eddie Jones, who had
14 points for Memphis. "It became a half-court game. Their team
has a lot better half-court game than we have."

The Grizzlies, in the playoffs for the third time in franchise
history, have the NBA record for postseason losses without a
victory. They also tied the NBA record for consecutive playoff
losses, set by Denver in 1994.

Memphis was swept in the playoffs last year by Phoenix and the
year before by San Antonio.

The Grizzlies host Dallas in Game 4 on Monday.

Gasol, who has struggled against the Mavericks since the regular
season, scored 16 points -- two in the overtime.

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

Terry had 22 points for Dallas. Howard had 16 points and Jerry
Stackhouse added 10.

Hakim Warrick scored 11 for Memphis 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.

"This is probably one of the most special wins I've been part
of here ... This was a gutsy performance," Dallas coach Avery
Johnson said. "We had a reason to give up, but we didn't give
up."

The Grizzlies 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 were rarely out front and their largest lead was four
points in Game 2.

Memphis held a 46-38 advantage at halftime.

"I thought we played better than the previous two games,"
Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "In the last 5 minutes, they
fought harder than we did. They got two rebounds off of missed free
throws and they hustled to a loose ball on the ground that turned
into the 3-point shot that tied the game.

"The effort we put into the first part of the game was wasted
in the last 5 minutes because that is the time to get things
done."

Game notes
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,
however, and limited Gasol to averages of 19 points and seven
rebounds in the remaining matchups. ... Gasol scored 24 points in
Game 1 and 16 in Game 2, both in Dallas. Nowitzki had 31 points in
each.