DALLAS, April 26 (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki is giving fellow All-Star forward Pau Gasol a lesson in playoff basketball.

Nowitzki ignored early foul trouble and scored 31 points for the second straight game as the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 94-79 victory over the sloppy Memphis Grizzlies and opened a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round series.

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Josh Howard scored 17 points for the fourth-seeded Mavericks, who were 11 wins better than the fifth-seeded Grizzlies during the season and have looked every bit of it through the first two games.

An MVP candidate and a playoff-tested veteran, Nowitzki has thoroughly outplayed Gasol, who has struggled while allowing the Grizzlies to fall to 0-10 all-time in the postseason. In each of the first two games, he has disappeared for long stretches.

"He came out firing and had like 10 or 12 points in the first quarter," Nowitzki said. "After that, we did a decent job on him. We got the ball out of his hands some. We met him early and tried to be physical with him. Really that's the only way you can play him. He's still young."

"We did a great job on Pau," Howard said. "I think he only scored four points in the second half, and I give all of the credit to Gana (center DeSagana Diop) and Damp (Erick Dampier) and even D.J. (third-string center D.J. Mbenga) when he came in. You've got to send him the opposite way of where he likes to go. Our big guys have paid attention to the scouting report and they are really doing their job."

With 3:11 left in the first quarter, Nowitzki took a seat with his second foul. The Grizzlies quickly took advantage, opening a 36-32 lead early in the second quarter.

Nowitzki returned at the 10:25 mark scored the game's next nine points in a 2:07 span to give Dallas the lead for good and thoroughly discourage Memphis, which fell apart for the rest of the period.

"I wanted to come out really, really aggressive, obviously, offensively," Nowitzki said. "I made my first couple of shots and felt great. I got two calls there and it kind of took me out of the game a little bit. But once I came back, guys were looking for me. I got open a couple of times. It just felt great."

In the second quarter, Memphis managed 12 points while committing 10 turnovers. By contrast, Nowitzki scored 13 points, including a 3-pointer and free throw that helped push the lead to 57-43 at halftime.

"The turnovers cause you to lose control of the game," Gasol said. "It was frustrating. We were turning the ball over and giving them the ball back without making them work for it. It was really an intense game for a while, and we had a very good chance to be right there. We lost it for a few minutes and we really paid for it.

"Overall we played some great defense," Nowitzki said. "Once we do that we will always be in a position to win a game."

A 3-pointer by Jason Terry gave Dallas a 64-45 lead with 9:11 left in the third quarter. The Mavericks led by at least 13 points thereafter.

"We have a lot of athletes that are great in the open court with Marquis (Daniels) and Josh and (Terry is) so fast and, obviously, Devin (Harris)," Nowitzki said. "Once we rebound and we push the ball it's good."

After scoring 10 points in the first quarter, Gasol went more than 30 minutes without a basket. The rest of the Grizzlies managed just 25 points in the middle two quarters and trailed, 76-56, entering the final period.

Gasol finished with 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting, adding seven rebounds and five assists. He could have used some help as he led the Grizzlies in all three categories.

"They started doubling and we kind of stopped running plays for the post-ups," Gasol said. "We kind of got lost a little bit. Especially in the second quarter, we got out of our game for a few minutes and that really cost us."

Nowitzki made 9-of-19 shots and 12-of-14 free throws. Terry added 16 points and nine assists for the Mavericks, who made 28-of-36 from the line.

Bobby Jackson scored 12 points and Eddie Jones added 11 for the Grizzlies, who committed 20 turnovers.

"We're not going to win any games if we turn the ball over like that," Jackson said. "We've been taking care of the ball all season but now we're just, for some reason, turning the ball over a little bit too much right now."

"We'll take 20 turnovers anyway we can get them," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "Whether they are forced are unforced, we're not going to be choosy in that situation. The more we get turnovers like that, we'll have a chance to get some easy baskets."

The series shifts to Memphis for Game 3 and Game 4 on Saturday and Monday. Dallas won three road playoff games a year ago.

"We have to come out hard in Game 3, really establish ourselves at home and get a win there," Gasol said. "The whole scenario changes then, but we've got to do it. We've got to make it happen. I'm really excited about that, going back home with our fans and getting this monkey, that is really getting heavy, off of our back."

"In this league, you can never relax," Nowitzki said. "I was part of a playoff series one year against Portland. We were up 3-0 and we relaxed a little bit in that fourth game, they found their rhytm a little bit and the next thing you know, we found ourselves in a seventh game. So you've always got to keep the pressure up in the playoffs."