MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 29 (Ticker) --
The Memphis Grizzlies were
seconds away from locking up the first postseason victory in
franchise history. Then Dirk Nowitzki
did what he does best.
Nowitzki drilled a game-tying 3-pointer with 15 seconds
remaining in regulation and scored 24 of his 36 points after
halftime as the Dallas Mavericks rallied for a 94-89 overtime
triumph over the Grizzlies and a commanding 3-0 lead in their
Western Conference first-round series.
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"What a game from (Nowitzki)," Dallas coach Avery Johnson
"He scores the big 3 to send this game to overtime.
Forty-eight minutes, 36 points ... what a performance by a guy
who's had an MVP season."
Memphis, which entered with an 0-10 all-time postseason record,
owned a 76-72 lead with just 28 seconds remaining. Dallas'
split a pair of free throws, but the Mavericks corralled
the rebound and called a timeout.
Terry missed a short runner on the ensuing play, but
deflected the offensive rebound out to Nowitzki, who
took one dribble to his left before knocking down a heavily
contested 3-pointer from the top of the arc to forge a 76-76
"(Dampier) did a great job of keeping the ball alive," Nowitzki
said. "My 3-ball didn't really feel great all night long, but
at that point I took a dribble to the left and thought about
tying the game. When it left my hand, it didn't feel that great
but I'm glad it went in."
"The offensive rebounds I got were big for us," added Dampier,
who hauled in nine boards off the bench. "I tried to tip it in,
but it didn't go go in the first time so I just tried to tip it
out. Fortunately it went to Dirk, and he hit a big 3 for us to
send it to overtime."
Memphis missed its chance to win in regulation when
came up short on a driving layup from the right wing at
"Those last three minutes, we didn't play as well as we're
capable of," Atkins said.
The score was tied again, 79-79, with 3:48 remaining in the
extra session when Nowitzki converted a short fallaway jumper
from the left elbow to give Dallas the lead for good.
"They basically had the game won, and it's always a heartbreaker
to have a team tie it at the end and send it into overtime,"
Nowitzki said. "We felt very good about our chances then."
Nowitzki executed a perfect pick-and-roll play with Terry on the
ensuing possession. The German superstar received a feed near
the right wing and drilled a wide-open 3-pointer with 3:17
remaining to push the Mavericks' advantage to 84-79.
Terry scored 22 points, Josh Howard
chipped in 16 and
added 10 off the bench for fourth-seeded Dallas,
which hopes to complete a four-game series sweep here in Game
Four on Monday.
"We just have to go out and execute our game plan and come out
aggressive in (Game Four)," Terry said. "I thought tonight,
they came out and they were the aggressor in the first half.
But in the second half we came out, answered the bell and came
Atkins scored 20 points, Pau Gasol
had 16 and reserve
collected 10 and 10 rebounds for the fifth-seeded
Grizzlies, who managed just 43 points on 36 percent shooting
(15-of-41) after halftime.
"We played better tonight than we did in the first two games,"
Memphis coach Mike Fratello
said. "The difference was the last
five minutes. The missed rebounds and loose balls turned into a
3-pointer that tied the game."
"This is very, very frustrating," added Gasol, whose team tied
Denver's all-time record for consecutive postseason losses. "We
had it and we couldn't come up with the rebound and the loose
ball that would have given us the victory."