DALLAS (AP) - If the Memphis Grizzlies keep playing like this,
they'll never win a playoff game.
The Grizzlies went 16 straight possessions without a point and
10:47 between baskets over the middle two quarters, taking them out
of what had been a close game and sending the Dallas Mavericks to a
94-79 victory Wednesday night and a 2-0 lead in their first-round
Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points to drop Memphis to 0-10 in its
postseason history; that's four more losses than any NBA team has
ever had before its first victory. The Grizzlies will head home for
Game 3 on Saturday halfway to being swept for the third straight
Memphis actually started great, getting Pau Gasol rolling early
and not making a turnover the entire first quarter. The Grizzlies
led by four early in the second quarter, until Nowitzki scored
every point in a 9-0 run that put the Mavericks ahead for good.
Then came the stretch when Memphis reverted to the Vancouver
Grizzlies of the late 1990s.
After Chucky Atkins made a layup with 7:07 left in the second
quarter, they didn't get another field goal until a dunk by Eddie
Jones with 8:20 left in the third. Memphis' only points in between
were four free throws.
All told, the Grizzlies went from down by three to trailing by
19 and thinking about what they might do differently this weekend.
Dallas' Avery Johnson was presented his coach of the year trophy
before the game largely for getting the Mavericks to play solid
defense, but they only get partial credit for Memphis' meltdown.
The Grizzlies missed only eight shots during their do-no-right
period, hurting themselves more by committing nine turnovers. They
also stopped themselves three times with offensive fouls and mixed
in a lane violation that wiped out a free throw by Gasol. The call
sent him to his knees in disgust.
Things didn't get any better after Jones' drought-buster.
Memphis finished the third quarter with 13 points, only one more
than it had in the second.
Dallas got sloppy, too, going through a stretch of six straight
misses and three turnovers. It hardly mattered as the Grizzlies
scored only four points off all that.
Gasol scored 10 points in the first quarter, but finished with
16. Bobby Jackson scored 12 and Jones - who organized a
players-only dinner Monday night to try rallying the troops -
Nowitzki matched his Game 1 scoring total. The only difference
was he had 21 in the first half this time, two more than the
Josh Howard scored 17 points and Jason Terry had 16 and nine
assists. Erick Dampier wasn't as active as he'd been in the opener,
but still managed eight points and six rebounds.
Griffin scored six, including a dunk on a fast break during
Memphis' awful stretch that left teammates Jerry Stackhouse,
Marquis Daniels and Darrell Armstrong cracking up on the bench.
Neither team liked the officiating in the whistle-filled second
quarter, with Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello and Stackhouse both
getting technicals for complaining. There were a whopping 16
offensive fouls called in the game.
Notes: Johnson said he had more than 50 calls from well-wishers,
including two he noted as being very special to him - from Detroit
president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and Spurs point guard
Tony Parker. Said Dumars: "Avery is my homeboy, we're both
Louisiana guys and we actually pull for each other. I was happy for
him." ... When Johnson received his trophy from team owner Mark
Cuban, he turned to the bench and pointed, a thank-you gesture to
his players. ... Johnson had a new golf bag in his office. "I
don't want to use that until about July 1," he said.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)