Nowitzki helps Mavs end 4-game skid

DALLAS (AP)—Dirk Nowitzki took out all sorts of frustrations on the Utah Jazz, hitting 16 of 20 shots and scoring 39 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 115-108 victory Saturday night.

Nowitzki’s fire was stoked by Dallas having lost four straight and by his own problems against the Jazz—as in getting suspended after two of his last three games against them, including last month.

Whether driving in traffic or nailing long jumpers, Nowitzki showed plenty of emotion all night. He punctuated his toughest shots with screams or fist pumps, even in the first half. His scoring was relentless: nine points in the first quarter, 10 in the second, eight in the third and 12 in the fourth. He was 7-of-8 in the second half.

Jason Terry added 22 points, and Jason Kidd had 11 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds to keep the Mavericks from matching their longest losing skid of the season. Now Dallas can carry a clean slate as it heads on the road for four straight games and six of the next seven.

Utah’s Deron Williams had 30 points and nine assists before fouling out in the last minute, and Mehmet Okur had 23 points and 11 rebounds.

The Jazz lost for only the second time in their last seven games, but this was their sixth loss in their last seven road games. This also was Utah’s 41st game; the Jazz are 24-17 at the midpoint of the season.

When the teams met last month, Utah was without three key players but still blistered Dallas. This time, the game was close for three quarters—16 lead changes, 12 ties—but the Mavericks went into the fourth ahead by 2 and never gave up the lead.

The Jazz got to 101-99, but Dallas pulled away again soon after, despite getting a scare when Nowitzki went down with an ankle injury. He even briefly headed to the locker room, but ended up missing only a little more than minute on the clock.

Brandon Bass scored a season-high 17 points for the Mavericks and Antoine Wright added 11, including a tough basket in the paint when things were tightening up late in the fourth quarter.

CJ Miles scored 15 points for Utah, Ronnie Brewer added 14, and Andrei Kirilenko had 12.

Dallas acquired 3-point shooter Matt Carroll and big man Ryan Hollins from Charlotte on Friday in a trade for backup center DeSagana Diop. Hollins was on the bench in street clothes, but couldn’t play because Carroll and Diop haven’t taken their physicals. The newcomers are expected to play in Dallas’ next game, Monday in Philadelphia.

In the first half, Dallas led 17-12 then went nearly 6 minutes without scoring to fall behind 29-17. The slump conveniently ended seconds after an in-house promotion that gave some fans a $10 gift card at a video arcade if the Mavs scored in the next 60 seconds. They ended up regaining the lead minutes later and were up 55-51 at halftime.

Notes

Nowitzki missed his first free throw, ending a streak of 49 straight makes. … Dallas scored 38 points in the second quarter, its most in any quarter all season; 16 came in the paint and Kidd had five assists. The Mavs shot 16-of-22 (72.7 percent) in the period. … Utah lost despite making 51.3 percent of its shots. … Williams started 1-of-7, then went 7-of-8.


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