Dirk Nowitzki answered everything the Denver Nuggets threw at him. The only thing that stopped him was the lopsided score.
Nowitzki had 33 points and 11 rebounds before getting a rest in the fourth quarter, Brandan Wright scored a season-high 15 points and the Dallas Mavericks won 112-95 on Monday night.
Arron Afflalo scored 24 points for the Nuggets, who lost a game that could have an impact on their playoff position. Denver entered Monday seventh in the Western Conference, a half-game behind Dallas. The Mavericks not only gained a game on the Nuggets, they won the season series and hold a tiebreaker should the teams finish with the same record.
“It always helps,” Mavericks guard Vince Carter said. “Right now, it’s not about series wins, it is about getting wins and moving ourselves up the ladder.”
Nowitzki was the biggest reason they hold the tiebreaker. The 13-year veteran started hitting shots early and never really stopped as he finished 12 of 19 from the field against several different defenders, all of whom were shaking their heads.
And when he wasn’t hitting shots, he was finding the open man. He finished with six assists.
“For some reason, we’re really shooting the ball well, moving the ball,” Nowitzki said. “I have gotten better at it as I’ve gotten older. That comes with experience. Sometimes my passing decisions aren’t the greatest.”
The Nuggets also lost guard Andre Miller in the second quarter with a bruised right shoulder, and forward Danilo Gallinari broke his left thumb in the third quarter. Neither player returned, and their status for Wednesday was unknown.
“I hit my thumb to the backboard. I was trying to block a shot,” Gallinari said. “I tried to play through, but it was getting worse second by second. I didn’t know it was broken, but it hurt a lot.”
Their injuries made Wilson Chandler‘s debut even more significant one day after he signed a multiyear deal. He had 13 points and took a team-high 16 shots.
Chandler, who played overseas for Zhejiang Guangsha of the Chinese Basketball Association during the lockout, was ineligible to return until his team and FIBA, basketball’s governing body, signed off. Once that happened, he and the Nuggets agreed to a five-year, $37 million contract. They finalized the deal Sunday and he was on the court Monday. He came into the game midway through the first period and hit his first three shots, including a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock.
“I was pretty winded,” he said. “First game back against the defending champions with two future Hall of Famers, it’s tough.”
Chandler’s early offense helped keep the Nuggets close in a half where the Mavericks didn’t miss many shots.
Dallas started the game 10 of 13 from the field and shot 62.5 percent in the first period. Nowitzki led the way by going 5 for 5, mostly against rookie Kenneth Faried.
“That 1-foot fadeaway, nobody in the league can hit that and he makes it look so easy,” Faried said. “You think you play great D, you contest the shot and he looks at you like, `That’s going to go in every time.’ As a rookie, wow.”
Behind Nowitzki’s 18 points in the first half, the Mavericks built a nine-point lead before Denver made a charge to get within a point at 50-49 with 2:38 left in the second quarter. Dallas recovered and led 63-56 at the half.
Nowitzki drained a 3 as the Mavericks scored the first seven points of the third to go ahead by 14. Denver cut it to 78-72 on Chandler’s tip-in, but Dallas finished the third quarter on a 14-6 run to lead 92-78 heading into the fourth.
“My biggest disappointment was the beginning of the third quarter,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “They scored the first seven points and their confidence just ballooned. They’re a championship team, they have an attitude and they’re getting ready for the playoffs.”
Nowitzki’s three-point play and 16-foot turnaround jumper gave Dallas a 101-82 lead with 8:08 left. Soon after, he sat down for the rest of the night and Denver never made it a game in the fourth.
“It was one of the smartest played games I’ve seen in the league all year long,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “Very disciplined, aggressive, but not frantic and we moved the ball the way we had to.”
Notes: Mavericks F Shawn Marion did not make the one-game trip because of an injury. The team’s injury report noted Marion has a sore left knee, but Carlisle wouldn’t be specific, saying: “We’re not listing him as anything in particular except for he’s getting treatment.” … Nuggets C JaVale McGee, acquired from Washington on Thursday, didn’t play.
Dirk Nowitzkimade his first shot Saturday night, then scored again. When he connected again on his third attempt, the Dallas Mavericks knew exactly what to do.
Nowitzki scored a season-high 40 points and the Mavericks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 102-96 victory against the Utah Jazz.
“His shot making was there from the very beginning and the guys knew that,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “They kept getting him the ball and he delivered all night long.”
Nowitzki had 30 points when he went to the bench midway through the third quarter. It looked as if Nowitzki was going to relax the rest of the game as Dallas built a 23-point cushion in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz went on a big run to get within five points late. Nowitzki responded with a couple of big plays to help the Mavericks turn away the late rally.
“I had a good rhythm tonight,” said Nowitzki, who scored 20 points in each half. “I had not been really been shooting the ball well, especially from 15 to 16 feet. I just wanted to be aggressive and my teammates kept feeding me.”
Dallas forward Lamar Odom played for the first time after missing four games because of a family matter and personal reasons.
Odom was supposed to play Saturday night in the NBA Development League. Instead, he was recalled to play against the Jazz and scored nine points in 18 minutes. He also had five rebounds and blocked a season-high three shots.
“It was really personal, something I had to tend to,” Odom said. “Mark Cuban is a great owner for understanding and knowing that sometimes we have to fix what’s going on off the court in order for us to fix what’s on the court.”
In the opener of a five-game road trip, the Jazz fell to 3-13 away from home.
“We felt like we tried our best to contain them as much as possible,” Millsap said. “But they hit some tough shots that took us out of the game.”
Jason Terry scored 22 points as the Mavericks won the first time since Feb. 20.
Nowitzki, who scored 13 in a row for his team at one point, finished 14 for 21 from the floor and 9 for 10 from the line. His previous season high was 34 points against the New York Knicks on Feb. 19.
“It was tough losing a couple of games in a row,” Nowitzki said. “We have to establish ourselves again.”
The Jazz outscored the Mavericks 41-28 in the fourth quarter and went on a 24-8 run to cut Dallas’ lead to 93-88 with 1:41 left.
Terry answered with a layup and Nowitzki hit four free throws to help Dallas push ahead 99-90 with 19.4 seconds left.
CJ Miles scored 13 points and Al Jefferson had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who have lost seven in a row to the Mavericks.
Utah was down 53-47 in the third quarter when Dallas broke the game open.
Nowitzki sparked a 21-8 run by banking in an off-balance, one-legged 3-pointer. The 2011 NBA finals MVP then hit another from long distance to stretch the lead to 12.
Odom drove for a layup and made a 3-pointer from the corner to put Dallas on top 69-55, and Terry scored the final five points of the third quarter.
Carlisle said before the game that Odom joined the team sooner than expected because the team needed another healthy player during a rugged stretch where it plays nine games in 12 days.
Odom had been set to play for the Texas Legends on Saturday night. He entered with 7:36 left in the first quarter to an ovation from the home fans.
Carlisle was happy with what he saw Saturday from Odom, who came into the game averaging 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
“It’s by far the most energy he’s played with the entire year,” Carlisle said.
NOTES: Utah G Raja Bell (strained left adductor) missed his sixth straight game. . Dallas C Brandan Wright (concussion) did not play. Carlisle said Wright is day to day and there is no timetable for his return.
Shawn Marion is becoming quite a shut-down defender for the Dallas Mavericks while still contributing on offense.
Marion had game highs of 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and the 6-foot-7 forward also helped to frustrate Denver’s top scoring threat as the Mavericks stretched their winning streak to five with a 102-84 victory over the Nuggets on Wednesday night.
Dallas once again often used Marion to help defend the opponent’s best offensive option. Ty Lawson finished with only three points on 1-of-8 shooting.
“Lawson’s penetration is something everybody in the league is trying to solve. … We had good concentration, kept him from shredding us on the inside,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “Marion’s versatility on the defensive end came up huge for us.”
Marion led six Mavericks who scored in double figures on a night when the team was already without two guards before Delonte West broke his finger in the second quarter. The defending NBA champions matched their longest winning streak of the season.
“Everybody who put on a uniform contributed,” Marion said. “We came out aggressive and attacked them and had them on their heels.”
Dallas jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the first 3 minutes and was never really challenged.
Lawson finished 13 points below his scoring average and the Nuggets shot a season-low 36 percent (30 of 84) with their worst-scoring half followed by their lowest-scoring quarter. They came in as the league’s highest-scoring team at 104 points per game.
The Mavericks’ winning streak, coming after a three-day break that followed three losses in a row, includes a victory Monday night over the Los Angeles Clippers when Carlisle had Marion guarding point guard Chris Paul to start the game.
“Dallas has turned into an incredibly good defensive team,” Denver coach George Karl said.
“We struggled on offense and that affected our defense,” Harrington said. “They were just a better team tonight and we’ve got to move on.”
Kidd had consecutive 3-pointers, one from the top of the key and the other from the right corner, to cap a 16-3 run that pushed the Mavericks ahead 72-49 with 4:20 left in the third quarter.
Denver trailed 51-39 after its lowest-scoring first half of the season. The Nuggets followed that in the third quarter by scoring only 15 points, their fewest in any period this season.
“We were struggling to find points,” Karl said.
At the same time, Dallas had its highest-scoring third quarter of the season, piling up 32 points to push ahead 83-54.
Already without guards Jason Terry (strained right quad) and Rodrigue Beaubois (personal reasons), West went down with an ugly injury to his right ring finger. Blood was clearly visible after he fractured and dislocated his finger while playing defense.
“He’s going to be out for a while,” Carlisle said.
While Terry’s injury isn’t thought to be serious, Carlisle had already said he would also miss Friday night’s game at Philadelphia because of a “personal situation.”
In a sign of things to come for the Mavs, four players scored in the opening 9-1 stretch.
Carter had two free throws less than a minute into the game to put Dallas ahead to stay before Kidd converted a steal by Carter into a 3-pointer. Nowitzki and Marion followed with jumpers.
Odom’s putback of his own miss made it 11-4.
On the next Dallas possession, Odom became the first Mavericks player to score consecutive points when he hit a 3.
“Everybody’s getting better and better as far as their game and their conditioning,” Odom said. “We’re having fun playing together.”
Notes: Nuggets F Corey Brewer received his championship ring from the Mavericks before the game. Brewer, a bench player during Dallas’ playoff run last season, was acquired from the Mavericks in a trade on Dec. 13. He had nine points. Caron Butler, now with the Clippers, got his ring Monday night when Los Angeles was in town. … Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has stepped in to save an annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dallas, writing a $40,000 check to ensure the parade that has been held since 1979 goes on. “I figured I had lost enough brain cells there, everybody else should get that opportunity, too,” Cuban joked before the game.
Shawn Marion had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas, which won its third in a row.
Crawford hit two free throws and Aldridge made a 12-footer with 1:43 remaining in the second extra session to draw Portland even at 93.
But Brendan Haywood‘s tip-in with 45 seconds remaining in the second overtime gave Dallas a 95-93 edge.
Crawford missed from 15 feet, and Nowitzki swished a 15-foot fadeaway with 16.9 seconds left in the second OT despite Aldridge’s tight defense for a 97-93 lead.
“I do feel good about my defense,” Aldridge said. “(Nowitzki) couldn’t see the basket half the time.”
Wes Matthews made one of two free throws with 11.4 seconds remaining, Portland got the rebound of the second miss, but Crawford’s desperation 26-footer failed to hit the rim as final buzzer sounded.
Both teams were on the second leg of back-to-backs and wore down as the game wore on.
Dallas won on Friday night at Minnesota 104-97, while Portland defeated New Orleans on the road 94-86.
Portland’s Nicolas Batum made a 20-footer from the corner to open the first overtime, and Crawford’s layup with 3:42 left gave his team an 85-83 lead.
Nowitzki made a 17-footer, Marion hit a layup with 1:08 remaining in the first overtime, and Marion converted two free throws with 37.3 seconds left to put Dallas in front 87-85.
Aldridge rolled in an 11-foot jump-hook with 23.9 seconds left in the first overtime to tie it at 87, Nowitzki missed from 13 feet with 3 seconds left, and the game went to a second overtime.
Portland rallied from an 18-point first-half deficit, with Aldridge scoring 15 fourth-quarter points.
“I started out kind of slow,” Aldridge said. “I was trying to get it going.”
Crawford’s layup with 54 seconds remaining in regulation got Portland within 81-79, and Nowitzki’s miss from 21 feet with 32 seconds left gave Portland a shot at tying the game.
Aldridge’s 15-foot turnaround with 12 seconds left in regulation drew Portland even at 81.
The Blazers got off to a sluggish start, missing 12 of their first 17 field goal attempts as the Mavs surged to an 18-10 lead behind Nowitzki’s eight points.
The Mavs led at halftime, 43-32 on the strength of 18-of-36 shooting from the floor and 12 points from Nowitzki.
At the break, Portland coach Nate McMillan stressed to his players the importance of a more physical second-half defensive effort.
“We didn’t do that in the first and I thought we scrapped and put up a fight the second half and fought our way back into the game,” McMillan said.
NOTES: Dallas has taken 22 of the past 29 regular-season meetings between the teams. Dallas and Portland met for the first time since the Mavericks won a six-game series in the opening round of last season’s Western Conference playoffs. The Mavs went on to capture their first NBA title. … Portland’s 14 points in the first quarter were its low opening quarter this season. … Portland C Marcus Camby took a charging foul from Dallas’ Lamar Odom with 5:43 left in the second quarter and sustained a right ankle injury. Camby was in the locker room for the rest of the second quarter, opened the third quarter, but lasted only six minutes and was done for the night.
Jason Terry was more than willing to take the big shots, with Dirk Nowitzki just getting back into the Dallas Mavericks’ lineup. Terry made them when they mattered, too.
Terry scored the last four points in overtime, after hitting a tying 15-footer with a half-second remaining in regulation, and the Mavericks came back after blowing a big lead against San Antonio’s reserves to beat the Spurs 101-100 Sunday night.
“He put us on his shoulders there,” said Nowitzki, who played for the first time after a four-game hiatus to strengthen his sore right knee and do some conditioning work. “He made some great pull-ups. He got to his sweet spot to send it to OT.”
Terry put Dallas ahead to stay when he took a pass from Nowitzki and made a 12-foot baseline jumper with 42 seconds left to make it 99-98. After Shawn Marion stole the ball from Gary Neal, Terry got fouled and made both free throws with 17 seconds left.
“It’s just the will to win when the game is on the line,” Terry said. “I like to take the shot when the game is on the line. … When my team needs me the most, I’m going to come through regardless of what’s going on the entire night. Fourth quarter is winning time.”
Terry scored 26 of his season-high 34 points after halftime, though the Spurs still had a chance after his last two free throws.
Neal, who finished with 19 points, drove for a layup and was fouled by Marion with 12 seconds left. But Neal missed a potential tying free throw that was rebounded by Ian Mahinmi, who was fouled and missed two free throw attempts.
After Neal got that rebound and the Spurs called timeout, Vince Carter knocked the ball loose. Danny Green grabbed it and threw up a 3-pointer that ricocheted off the front of the rim as the game ended.
Green and the Spurs thought he had a game-winner at the end of regulation, but his 14-footer was disallowed when replay clearly showed that shot didn’t get out of his hands before the buzzer sounded.
“I thought it was good, but I guess it was too good to be true,” Green said.
Dallas led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter before San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich decided to go with his reserves. The Spurs’ last 51 points after that came from bench players, and they went ahead by as many as nine in the fourth quarter with the help of a flurry of 3-pointers.
“We were just on fire shooting 3s and it got us back in the game. It’s as simple as that. I thought the energy defensively was great; we double-teamed everywhere,” Popovich said. “They were playing great. There’s no sense in taking them off the court.”
The last Spurs starter to score was Richard Jefferson on a 3-pointer with 4:28 left in the third quarter. When Jefferson came out less than 2 minutes later, the only starter to re-enter the game was Kawhi Leonard for 1.1 seconds in overtime.
Terry’s tying shot at the end of regulation was set up after Rodrigue Beaubois, starting for injured Jason Kidd, drove for a layup with 30 seconds left and then blocked a shot on a drive by Neal. Nowitzki grabbed the rebound and got the ball to Terry.
San Antonio still had a chance to win the game. Green swished his jumper off the inbound pass, but officials looked at the replay before ruling it didn’t count and sending the game to overtime.
“We got a little lucky there,” Nowitzki said. “I thought it was over.”
Carter had 21 points, his most with the Mavericks, while Beaubois had 14. Nowitzki had 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting with 13 rebounds.
“I’m moving better,” Nowitzki said. “Definitely that was an improvement from before. I’m going to keep working and get back to normal soon.”
Dallas (13-8) took over the Southwest Division lead, ahead of Houston (12-8) and the Spurs (12-9).
The Mavericks had a 67-49 lead after Terry’s basket with 3:48 left in the third quarter. That’s when San Antonio’s reserves took over.
There were seven consecutive points to cut the gap, that capped by Matt Bonner‘s 3-pointer that helped ignite a frenzy of 3-pointers.
San Antonio opened the fourth quarter with a 17-2 surge that included five 3-pointers. Bonner’s trey from the right wing with 8:24 left in regulation put the Spurs up 75-71.
That was from about the same spot that Green had hit before a missed shot by Nowitzki.
San Antonio, which made seven 3s in the fourth quarter, led 84-75 with 5 1/2 minutes left when Neal stole the ball from Terry and had a fast-break jumper. It was still 89-81 only 2 minutes later when Neal made a 3-pointer.
“We were unable to capitalize on it,” Neal said. “They were able to make shots and forced it into overtime.”
Notes: Kidd has a right calf strain, and is expected to miss at least five games. … San Antonio finished with 12 3s, which was four less than they made when the teams first played 3 1/2 weeks ago when the Spurs won 93-72 at home. … Manu Ginobili (broken left hand) missed his 16th consecutive game for the Spurs, while T.J. Ford (torn left hamstring) has missed 11 in a row. … When former Mavericks owner Don Carter and his wife were showing on the video board during a timeout in the first quarter, both flashed their 2011 NBA championship rings. … Brendan Haywood had a season-high five blocked shots for Dallas.