Mavs erase 24-point Raptors lead to win again

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki had a season-high 32 points and a perfect ending in Dallas' highest-scoring quarter of the season, helping the Mavericks put together a record-setting rally during a 105-99 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.

Nowitzki hit four straight 3-pointers in the final 1:41 of the third quarter, when Dallas went ahead to stay after overcoming a 24-point deficit. The Mavericks finished their four-game homestand undefeated and are 6-0 at home this season.

Dallas made its largest comeback ever to win a game in regulation. The Mavericks also overcame a 24-point deficit against Toronto in February 2006, but won that game in overtime. The Raptors have never blown a bigger lead to lose, and now they've done it twice against Dallas.

The first of Nowitzki's clutch 3-pointers tied it at 70, then he made another and another. Those three long-range shots came within a minute of each other, and Nowitzki made the last with 1.4 seconds left in the third quarter and made it 79-72.

Those treys were part of a bigger stretch for Nowitzki. And a long way from the game's opening minutes, when after a 10-0 run by Toronto, coach Avery Johnson benched the reigning NBA MVP and a couple of other starters because of their defensive struggles.

Nowitzki scored 18 in the third quarter, when the Mavs outscored Toronto 38-17 to overcome a 14-point halftime deficit.

After driving for a layup with 2:48 left in the third to get Dallas within 68-65, he followed a Toronto miss with the assist on Trenton Hassell's 17-foot jumper. Then Nowitzki did the rest on his own, pushing the Mavericks in the lead for good.

Chris Bosh had a season-high 31 points with 12 rebounds for the Raptors. Andrea Bargnani had 20 points and Jamario Moon grabbed 12 rebounds.

Devin Harris and Jason Terry had 19 points for Dallas, and Josh Howard added 15 points and nine rebounds. Terry made a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter.

Toronto led 49-25 with 5:58 left in the first half after consecutive jumpers by Jose Calderon, but Harris keyed a 12-0 run for the Mavericks when Nowitzki wasn't in the game.

On the first short after a timeout, Harris hit a 19-footer. After a bad pass by Bosh led to a 3-pointer by Harris, the Mavs point guard grabbed a defensive rebound and them made a free throw. Another turnover by Bosh led to Juwan Howard's jumper, but Harris wasn't finished.

Harris drove for a layup after another Toronto miss, then made two free throws after being fouled on a shot in traffic to get the Mavs within 12.

Toronto coach Sam Mitchell inserted Bargnani, shooting less than 40 percent, into the starting lineup "just trying to get him back on track." It worked -- at least early.

Bargnani, starting at center instead of Maceo Baston, made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first quarter. He hit another in the opening minute of the second to put the Raptors up 36-19.

Johnson was frustrated early, calling two timeouts in the first 2:38 of the game. After Maurice Ager hit the opening basket for Dallas, Toronto scored 10 straight


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