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“We’re a team that’s going to try to win all 50-50 balls”: The clubs meet on Thursday

DALLAS — Finding something positive in a 30-point blowout loss is not always easy, but that is where the Dallas Mavericks are right now.

After the Mavericks were smashed by the Golden State Warriors on Monday, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle pointed to a rally in the second quarter as something to build on. The Mavericks cut an 18-point deficit early in the period to three by the break.

"I saw a lot of really good things offensively in the game, we showed signs of being able to rebound well, we got down early and fought back to even at halftime, which is a positive," Carlisle said. "I'm looking for positives with these guys. We've got to accentuate those things and clean up the problems."

The problems are piling up for the Mavs, who have started 0-4 for the second straight season. It is not getting any easier with two consecutive games against undefeated Memphis, beginning Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.

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The clubs meet again in Memphis on Thursday.

The Grizzlies, 3-0 for only the second time in franchise history, have already beaten the Warriors and the Houston Rockets this season.

"Their record speaks for itself, and you are who your record says you are, like Bill Parcells says," Carlisle said. "They're an undefeated juggernaut. They've beaten the world champs and the team that's viewed as the biggest threat. And we've struggled.

"It's a tough matchup, no question. They've gotten more athletic and faster. And (Mike) Conley and (Marc) Gasol are two All-Stars. Collectively, we have to solve our issues, the rebounding and the defensive issues. And it's hard work."

The Grizzlies have no such issues at present. Memphis finished with a 20-2 run to beat the Rockets 98-90 on Monday in Houston.

"This is a big win for us," said Memphis forward James Ennis, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds. "It was our first road game, and we protected at home, and on the road, we have to do the same. It was a good team-effort win, and we have to continue with our next game at Dallas. We have to do the same thing, defend and run."

Conley scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. Gasol scored a team-high 26 on 8-of-15 shooting.

The Grizzlies became the seventh team in NBA history to start a season 3-0 with two wins against teams that won at least 55 games the previous season, according to STATS. In both victories, Memphis did it by clamping down on defense.

"We're a team that grinds," Conley said. "We're a team that's going to try to win all 50-50 balls and out-muscle you and out-hustle you, and try to give ourselves the best chance to win."

epa03599029 Dallas Mavericks' German player Dirk Nowitzki reacts after scoring a three point basket against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of their NBA basketball game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, USA, 24 February 2013. EPA/LARRY W. SMITH CORBIS OUT +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki warned of the perils of another slow start. A season ago, the Mavericks lost their first four games and never really recovered in finishing near the bottom of the Western Conference.

"We've got to scratch and claw our way out of this," Carlisle said. "There's no other way. Our disposition has to pick up. We have to be totally together. We're missing a couple guys, but we have enough to win with what we have. Everybody's got to dig deep."

Dallas is still without guards Seth Curry (leg) and Devin Harris (personal reasons).


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