Mavs wrap up series sweep of Grizzlies with rout

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Now Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks
have a long layover before the semifinals begin.

Considering that their first-round opponent was the Memphis
Grizzlies, they should've expected as much.

"We didn't want to drag the series out and let the momentum
change and then the next thing you know you're 3-3, so we wanted to
get this out of the way," Nowitzki said after the Dallas
Mavericks' 102-76 victory Monday over the Grizzlies in Game 4 of
their playoff series.

Nowitzki didn't have much to worry about.

Except for a push in Game 3, which went into overtime Saturday,
Memphis fell easily, giving the Mavericks their first best-of-seven
sweep and the Grizzlies an NBA-record 12th consecutive playoff

In the Western Conference semifinals, Dallas will face the
winner of the San Antonio-Sacramento series, which is tied at two
games apiece. The Spurs-Kings series would end Sunday if it goes
seven games.

"We have some guys banged up and we'll get some rest. But we
can't relax too much," Nowitzki said. "We've still got to get
some work done this week, work on some defense location stuff that
we messed up this week and just, you know, stay sharp."

Nowitzki, who averaged 32.7 points in the first three games, was
12-of-21 from the floor in Game 4 for 27 points. Josh Howard had 24
points for Dallas on 9-of-17 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds.

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

The Grizzlies could do nothing to stop Dallas when the Mavericks
began a push late in the first half.

"It's hard to overcome mentally when you are down 3-0 and they
make a run," Gasol said. "They get comfortable when they get in a
lead, and it's hard for us to come back and make a run."

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.

"I thought this was our best performance of the series,"
Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. "We talked about playing tough,
hard-nosed defense tonight to try and close this series out."

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.

"We just had a continuation of defensive breakdowns," Memphis
coach Mike Fratello said.

In the only other playoff appearances for the franchise, the
Grizzlies were swept in the first round by Phoenix last year and
San Antonio the year before.

"We just didn't have it tonight," the Grizzlies' Shane Battier
said. "To beat Dallas you have to bring your 'A' game and we
obviously didn't."

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

Pulling away in the third period, Dallas 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 first half
when Memphis turnovers helped the Mavericks launch a 10-4 run to
break for intermission with a 48-39 lead.

Game 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.


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