NBA.com Daily Confidential

The Dallas Mavericks added to the Memphis Grizzlies' postseason misery by sweeping them out of the first round last season.

Memphis looks like it may not even get that far this season.

The Mavericks and last-place Grizzlies meet for the first time since the playoffs as Dallas looks for a fourth straight win Friday.

Dallas (3-4) extended Memphis' NBA record for consecutive losses in the postseason to 12 by sweeping last season's first-round series. The Grizzlies (1-6) have never won a playoff game, and several fans at their 102-76 loss in Game 4 wore paper bags over their heads.

The loss led to some offseason changes in Memphis. The club re-acquired Stromile Swift from Houston in exchange for popular Shane Battier, traded away veteran guard Bobby Jackson and opted to give youngsters Hakim Warrick, Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry extended minutes this season.

The Grizzlies are off to a difficult start while playing without power forward Pau Gasol, who averaged 20.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in last season's playoffs. No other Memphis player averaged more than 10.3 points in the series with Dallas.

Dirk Nowitzki averaged 31.3 points and Jason Terry chipped in 17.5 in the series for the Mavericks, who have won six straight games in Memphis including the playoffs.

They're also 21-3 against the Grizzlies since the franchise moved to Memphis for the start of the 2001-02 season.

The Mavericks are seeking to get to the .500 mark for the first time after starting the season with four consecutive losses. They earned their first home win of the season on Tuesday, 111-99 over Chicago behind 31 points and 10 rebounds from Nowitzki.

``We're working better together,'' Nowitzki said. ``The preseason was tough. We had a lot of injuries and we couldn't really practice together the way we wanted to.

``In October, we never really had everyone together in one practice. But everyone's starting to get a grasp of the system we're trying to run - defensively and offensively.''

Dallas coach Avery Johnson, known for his demanding style, wasn't ready to declare the defending Western Conference champions are back on top of their game.

``We have not arrived yet this year,'' Johnson said. ``We got one more win. Obviously, if you were watching the game, you know we still have lots of things to work on but we got a good groove going.''

Veteran forward Jerry Stackhouse is averaging 20 points on 52 percent shooting during the winning streak for Dallas after averaging only 8.8 points over the first four games of the season. Stackhouse has started the last four games for the Mavericks, who are playing without an injured Josh Howard.

The Grizzlies have lost five straight after a 115-111 loss at Sacramento on Wednesday. Chucky Atkins gave Memphis a 99-98 lead with 5:02 remaining after his layup capped a 10-0 run, but the team was unable to hold on.

Atkins made 10 of 11 shots for a season-high 27 points to lead the Grizzlies.


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