Memphis Grizzlies 

Mavs attempt to sweep Grizzlies out of the playoffs

The Dallas Mavericks can sweep the Memphis Grizzlies out of the playoffs tonight, as the teams meet for Game 4 of their first-round series at the FedExForum.

Memphis is appearing in the postseason for the third straight year. The Grizzlies were swept in 2004 by San Antonio and by Phoenix in the 2005 Playoffs. They are 0-11 all-time in the postseason.

After winning Games 1 and 2 at home, the Mavericks captured Game 3 on the road and took total control of the series. On Saturday, Dirk Nowitzki poured in 36 points and pulled down nine rebounds as No. 4 Dallas edged the fifth-seeded Grizzlies, 94-89, in overtime to take a commanding lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series at the FedExForum.

Jason Terry added 22 points in Game 3s victory for the Mavericks, while Josh Howard finished 16 points in the win.

Chucky Atkins recorded 20 points in the loss for the Grizzlies, while All-Star Pau Gasol contributed 16 points and seven boards and Eddie Jones netted 14 in defeat.

Dallas has won two straight Game 4s in the postseason. The Mavericks are 3-5 in their last eight contests when they have a chance to eliminate their opponent from the playoffs.

The last time the Mavericks swept a playoff series was in the 2002 first round when they defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 3-0.

If the Grizzlies win tonight, Game 5 is scheduled to be played on Wednesday at American Airlines Center.

This is the first time that the Grizzlies and Mavericks have met in the postseason.

The Mavericks were eliminated in six games in last year's Western Conference semifinals by Phoenix. They have advanced to the conference finals twice in franchise history (1988, 2003) and have never been to the NBA Finals.

The last time Dallas lost in the opening round was during the 2003 playoffs, when it lost in five games, 4-1, to the Sacramento Kings.

During the regular season, Dallas won three of its four contests against the Grizzlies. The Mavericks won two at the FedExForum, while the teams split a pair at American Airlines Center.

Dallas was a solid 26-15 on the road during the regular season, while the Grizzlies were an impressive 30-11 at FedExForum.

Frosh 32 Point Night Leads No. 9 Memphis Past Cincinnatti

CINCINNATI -- Antonio Anderson and the rest of Memphis' freshman-laden lineup didn't know much about the Shoemaker Center's history until they practiced there on Saturday morning.

Coach John Calipari told them that Cincinnati would come out determined not to let history happen in its arena. Enlightened by the lesson, Anderson made it happen anyway.

The freshman guard emerged from his shooting slump by scoring 32 points, and No. 9 Memphis beat the Bearcats 91-81 on Saturday for a place in their basketball history.

Cincinnati had never lost back-to-back games in the 17-year history of its arena before Dayton and Memphis (6-1) beat them in a five-day span.

"That was our motivation coming in," Anderson said. "That's why I made the shots I did."

Anderson, who had made only 10 baskets all season and was shooting 34.5 percent from the field, went 11-of-15 in a breakout game. Shawne Williams added 19 points in a balanced fast-break attack -- four Tigers finished in double figures.

"After I hit the first two, I knew tonight was going to be my night," said Anderson, who hadn't scored more than eight points in any game. "I got hot and kept it going. I didn't think they'd leave me open in the second half, but they did and I kept on knocking them down."

And, for the first time, the Bearcats (3-2) went down twice in a row at home. They never did that during the last 16 years under coach Bob Huggins, who was ousted last August by school President Nancy Zimpher.

The crowd chanted "Fire Nancy!" in the closing seconds Saturday. There have been at least 3,000 empty seats for each home game in an arena that was full more often than not during Huggins' tenure.

"Nobody likes being the first of anything negative," said power forward Eric Hicks, who had 15 points and 14 rebounds. "The only thing we can do is keep on playing."

Calipari was booed during pregame introductions by another less-than-capacity crowd of 9,440. During the week, Calipari criticized Bearcats fans for deserting the program after Huggins' ouster.

Interim coach Andy Kennedy apologized to fans after the loss to Dayton, and refused to take any solace from playing a ranked team close.

"This is University of Cincinnati men's basketball," Kennedy said. "Not for one second will we take one step of moral victory out of this. Are you kidding me? We're not going there under my watch."

James White and Jihad Muhammad led Cincinnati with 17 points apiece, but the Bearcats couldn't overcome a season-high 20 turnovers and 37.9 percent shooting.

The Tigers' roster is very young and very deep, two traits on display throughout the game. Deep in foul trouble, the Tigers wound up with four freshmen on the floor late in the second half.

No matter. They topped 90 points for the fifth time in seven games.

"I think no team in the country can do what we just did out there," Anderson said. "We showed the city of Memphis and the nation what we're capable of."

Memphis tried to force things on offense in the opening minutes, hurrying shots and taking a lot of bad ones. The Tigers opened in a 4-for-13 shooting slump that got the crowd revved.

Determined to give a better showing after Dayton shoved them around, the Bearcats came out with more intensity. Muhammad's 3-pointer put them up 16-10, their biggest lead of the game.

That's when Memphis' depth started coming into play.

Darius Washington's 3-pointer started a 17-2 run that put the Tigers in their comfort zone. Five players scored during the run, which ended with a pair of 3s by Anderson that made it 30-18. Memphis held the Bearcats to one basket over the six-minute, 32-second span.

Anderson scored 14 points in the first half, when Memphis led by as many as 13.

Cincinnati decided to run with Memphis at the start of the second half and got the better of the breakneck pace, putting together a 17-3 spurt that recharged the crowd. Muhammad hit a 3-pointer, a floating jumper and a pull-up jumper off an inbound pass that finished the run and put Cincinnati ahead 60-59.

Two of Memphis' inside threats -- Joey Dorsey and Kareem Cooper -- picked up their fourth fouls during Cincinnati's run. Calipari drew a technical foul for disputing Cooper's fifth -- a charge with Memphis up 72-70 -- and Dorsey fouled out 71 seconds later.

That's when Williams took control, hitting three consecutive baskets that helped Memphis pull ahead to stay 78-73.

Grizzlies Impress Pippen With Defense & Readiness

Very Scary Bears
Don't hibernate on the Grizzlies ... they'll get ya
Flying under the radar this season is the impressive play of the Memphis Grizzlies. Only the Spurs have more victories than the Grizz, who are tied with the Pistons and the Mavericks with 13 apiece.

What has been the key to their success? Defense. Tuesday night's victory over the Hornets provided a great snapshot of how they're getting it done. Riding a six-game winning streak, the NBA's No. 1 defensive team held the Hornets to 73 points, 19 below their regular-season average. They also held the league's hottest rookie, Chris Paul, to two points on 1-for-8 shooting and he was averaging 17 going into the game. You have to go back to nearly two weeks ago to find the last team to score more than 80 points (answer: Mavericks on Nov. 26).

Mike Fratello deserves a lot of credit for not only implementing a good defensive game plan but also having them prepared every night. Jerry West and the front office made some nice offseason moves that flew under the radar but have paid off. The Grizzlies have some solid performers, more role players, guys that aren't going to hurt you night in and night out.

You look at James Posey who's now in Miami. He's very athletic, but with a very high volume in turnovers, very unpredictable, very inconsistent. You make that comparison to an Eddie Jones, who's a little more consistent, a guy that isn't going to turn the ball over. They have some solid play at the point guard position. in Damon Stoudamire, who isn't a flashy player but a consistent one. These players are better to coach for Fratello. You're not dealing with some young guys that you're trying to develop while also getting your ball club to play well.

Another reason for their success is the improved play of Pau Gasol who has also developed and matured into a much better player which has ultimately given them a bit of an advantage because he's having a superb season so far. He's responded very well to the added pressure and expectations placed on him by teammates and fans.

He just studied how he had played in the past and changed tremendously. Here is a guy who did a lot of flopping around, and now he seems to be adding a lot more toughness to his game. He appears much more assertive. You also saw it in his comments after the game last night, how he said he made a point to be more aggressive going to the hoop.

I think the Grizzlies are a sleeper team. They're a lot better team than people give them credit for and will only improve as the season progresses. Throw in the fact that they have guys coming off the bench (Mike Miller, Bobby Jackson) that can fill it up and play well overall, and they're a team to watch out for come playoff time.

GM Jerry West Quiets Grizzly Roster Critics Again

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Jerry West's offseason moves that seemed puzzling to many appear to be working out well for the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies' president decided to overhaul his roster after a first-round playoff loss, dumping key players Jason Williams, James Posey, Bonzi Wells and Stromile Swift.

It looked as if the Grizzlies were shedding an enormous amount of talent, and many pundits suggested "The Logo" was losing his touch as one of the NBA's best executives.

But the Grizzlies are off to their best start with a 13-5 record and tied with Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers for the second-best mark in the Western Conference.

"We're really a team," said starting center Lorenzen Wright, with the Grizzlies since their move to Memphis in 2001. "You keep some good guys and you add some good guys, and you're going to have a pretty good team."

The Grizzlies are in the middle of a six-game winning streak, beating opponents by an average of more than 17 points, showing a new spark on defense and enjoying big nights from 3-point range.

Memphis players say the biggest change from last season is the commitment to teamwork instilled by the arrival of veterans Eddie Jones, Damon Stoudamire and Bobby Jackson.

"You're talking about 12 men, basically, on the active roster. It's not like football," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "One guy can change the makeup or the mind-set of a team."

Fratello's Grizzlies are passing more and playing defense as a team.

"You get that follow-the-leader type mentality," Fratello said. "One guy says, 'He's the one who passed me the ball when I was open. I'll pass it back to him. He's open now.' It's contagious."

The Grizzlies still have work to do on rebounding, though they're on track to improve over last season when they were last in the league. And they're still not a high-scoring team.

But the defense has been stifling. Memphis leads the NBA in points allowed, giving up an average of about 85. Over the past six games, the Grizzlies have held opponents to an average of 76 points.

Jackson said he, Stoudamire and Jones are confident they can continue to help the team.
"We knew we've got leadership, and we know we can play (defense)," Jackson said. "We're just happy to be here."

The Grizzlies ended last season with what West has called an "implosion." They were swept in the first round of the playoffs by Phoenix amid bickering between Fratello and some of his top players.

That prompted West to get rid of the talented but temperamental duo of Williams and Wells. He picked up Jones in a trade with Miami and got Jackson in a deal with Sacramento. Stoudamire came to Memphis as a free agent.

In addition to tightening their defense, the Grizzlies have improved on long-range shooting. They hit a franchise-record 15 3-pointers in a 90-75 victory over Houston on Dec. 2.

That outside threat has given 7-foot forward Pau Gasol more room to work inside. He got his eighth double-double of the season against the Hornets, with 29 points and 15 rebounds in a victory Tuesday night.

Fratello said success from long range "ties into the unselfish part of it."

"I could take a shot with a man on me contesting my shot or I could make one more pass to the guy next to me who doesn't have anybody on him," Fratello said. "You take one more pass or two more passes and you find the open man."

Grizzlies Seek Seventh Straight Win

Memphis is at home on Friday against the Dallas Mavericks, a team the Grizzlies stunned on the road, 112-92, on Nov. 26. Excellent ball movement resulted in 55.4 percent field goal shooting for the Grizzlies and a monster game from Pau Gasol, who had 36 points and 15 rebounds. The Grizzlies took the fight to the Mavs from the start and never let up.

After that game, Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki didn't think Gasol had that great a game.

"I don't want to say anything negative about anybody," Gasol said after Tuesday's win over the Hornets. "But the best way to show how good I am is to help my team win again."

The Grizzlies turned a slow start into a steady beatdown of the Hornets for a sixth straight victory while getting an All-Star type performance from Pau Gasol and a huge bench boost from Bobby Jackson.

While Memphis shot poorly from the outside early and didn't play with a lot of energy, Gasol kept the Grizzlies in the hunt early by going to the foul line. On his 29-point, 15-rebound night, Gasol made 15 of 19 free throws. He got hacked often because the Hornets were not quick with the double-team.

The Grizzlies exploded in the second half when Jackson was inserted at scoring guard and Antonio Burks at the point. Burks began pushing the ball, Jackson hit a couple of threes and scored 10 of the Grizzlies' 12 points in one stretch.

In the second half, the Grizzlies' defense was simply superb. They were never seriously threatened, held steady on offense and had their usual superb ball distribution.

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