Dirk Nowitzki came through when it mattered.
Despite missing 13 of his first 14 shots and 16 of 23 overall, the seven-foot forward hit a turnaround 17-foot jumper over Reggie Evans at the buzzer to give the Dallas Mavericks a 95-93 victory against Philadelphia, snapping the 76ers’ season-high seven-game winning streak.
“I’m a shooter,” Nowitzki said. “I always think the next one is going in.”
Nowitzki received the inbounds pass with 4.3 seconds left and spun around the 6-foot-8 Evans to deliver the game-winning shot.
“It’s easy to get it to him because he’s seven feet,” Kidd said of Nowitzki. “He’s done it all year. He’s an All-Star and an MVP and he enjoys these moments.”
Nowitzki finished with 24 points, Jason Kidd had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Jason Terry added 20 for the Mavericks (24-17).
Philadelphia coach Tony DiLeo didn’t second-guess his decision to put the smaller Evans on Nowitzki.
“Reggie had a good feel for him because he was guarding him for the last five minutes as we were making our comeback,” DiLeo said. “Reggie is a physical guy who did push him out and contested the shot.”
Lou Williams scored 25 points, while Andre Iguodala had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers (20-21), who are trying to climb above .500 for the first time since Nov. 23 when they were 7-6.
Andre Miller added 12 points for Philadelphia, whose four-game home winning streak ended.
“I was proud of the way we came back,” Iguodala said. “I think we need to continue to have that hunger.”
The 76ers have reason to be optimistic with the expected return of forward Elton Brand, who worked out on the court before the game. DiLeo said Brand, who dislocated his right shoulder Dec. 17 and has missed 16 consecutive games, most likely will play Saturday against the New York Knicks.
Dallas overcame an early deficit and was sparked by Kidd and Nowitzki. Kidd tied his season-high with six 3-pointers, while Nowitzki shook off a poor shooting performance from the field (7-of-23) by hitting all 10 of his free throws. Nowitzki is 44-for-45 from the free throw line over the last six games.
Kidd was 6-of-8 from 3-point territory.
“They’re going to give me 3-point shots,” Kidd said. “I haven’t been making many, but I’ve been staying with it.”
Dallas trailed 55-47 with 8:58 remaining in the third quarter, then went on a 19-4 run over six minutes. Kidd scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers, and Nowitzki had eight during the scoring spurt to give the Mavericks a 66-59 advantage.
By the end of the third quarter, the Mavericks led 74-63, with Kidd and Nowitzki combining for 25 of their 32 points.
With 2:14 remaining, Terry hit a 3-pointer from the baseline to give Dallas a 93-81 lead. It wouldn’t last as the 76ers scored 12 straight points, tying the game at 93 with 8.5 seconds left after a driving layup by Iguodala.
“We really came back there at the end,” DiLeo said. “They never gave up. That’s the essence of our team.”