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 said. "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' Jason Terry 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 Erick Dampier 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 tie.

"(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 Chucky Atkins came up short on a driving layup from the right wing at the buzzer.

"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 Jerry Stackhouse 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 out fighting."

Atkins scored 20 points, Pau Gasol had 16 and reserve Lorenzen Wright 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."