Mavs Get 61 Wins, Dirk Passes 15,000 Point Mark

3-30-07 - Dirk Nowitzki took care of the personal milestone with his first shot. After his final surge, the Dallas Mavericks got their record.

Nowitzki scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, with nine straight in the final 1:56, as the Mavericks beat the New York Knicks 105-103 Friday night for their franchise-record 61st victory.

The Mavericks, the top team in the NBA, have won nine straight games.

Stephon Marbury had a season-high 43 points, but his final shot was blocked by Josh Howard and rebounded by Devean George as the game ended. Marbury had twice put the Knicks ahead in the closing stretch, but also had a huge mistake.

A three-point play by Marbury put the Knicks up 101-100 with 1:18 left. Nowitzki then made two free throws, but Marbury answered with another basket.

The Mavericks went ahead for good after Nowitzki tried to give the ball up with a pass to a wide-open Jerry Stackhouse. After Stackhouse missed the 3-pointer, Nowitzki grabbed the rebound and made both free throws after being fouled.

Jason Terry then stole a pass by Marbury and hit the second free throw after being fouled with 17 seconds left. Marbury couldn't make up for his mistake, missing his last shot.

On his first basket of the game, Nowitzki surpassed 15,000 points. He came out of Wednesday night's game with a sore left ankle, playing only a minute after halftime, stuck at 14,999.

The Mavericks next play Sunday at Phoenix with a chance to move closer to clinching the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the playoffs. They can also become the first NBA team ever to have four winning streaks of at least 10 games in the same season.

And they still could join the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (72-10) as the only teams to reach the 70-win plateau. They would have to win nine of the last 10 games.

The injury-depleted Knicks are two games behind New Jersey for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference, even though they scored more than 100 points for the first time in 11 games.

Nowitzki hadn't made a field goal since the 4:46 mark of the second quarter when he made three within two minutes early in the fourth quarter, taking the Mavericks from their first second-half deficit to an 84-81 lead.

Even after their worst shooting quarter of the season, going only 2-of-19 (11 percent) in the third quarter, the Mavs didn't lose their lead, though the Knicks tied it at 76.

Dallas was only 1-of-8 in the third quarter when it extended the lead to 67-57 on two free throws by Devin Harris. The Mavs made 15 of 17 free throws in the quarter, the only thing that kept them from falling behind.

Nate Robinson, who started for injured Steve Francis, had a layup to start the fourth quarter and put the Knicks ahead. Nowitzki followed with his first surge of the fourth quarter, and wasn't finished.

Robinson had 15 points, while Eddy Curry had 17.

Howard added 20 points for the Mavs. Terry had 14, including two tiebreaking 3-pointers in the final quarter.

Marbury scored 23 points in the first half, but Dallas used an 8-2 run over the final 1:40 to lead 57-53. Erick Dampier had consecutive short jumpers before Stackhouse's half-ending alley-oop dunk from Harris.