for this game

Nowitzki, Terry lead Mavs to 9th straight win

Mar 4, 2010 - 5:30 AM By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Sports Writer

DALLAS(AP) -- Jason Terry left the Dallas locker room with his left eye nearly swollen shut and possibly a broken nose. Jason Kidd wasn't even there, having gotten a needed break.

And the Mavericks still stretched their winning streak to nine games, the current best in the NBA.

Terry scored seven of his 26 points after taking an elbow to the face on a play late in the third quarter when he was called for a foul, Dirk Nowitzki had 22 with the go-ahead basket and the Mavericks held on for a 112-109 victory over the last-place Minnesota Timberwolves 112-109 on Wednesday night.

The concern after the game was for Terry, who will be evaluated by a doctor Thursday.

"He's tough, but he'll be all right," Nowitzki said.

Terry was hurt with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, called for a foul even though he was sprawled on his back with a bloody nose after taking an elbow from Corey Brewer. Terry went to the locker room and Brewer hit two free throws. Terry was back three minutes later and played the rest of the game with cotton sticking out of his left nostril.

While J.J. Barea started for Kidd, it was Terry and rookie Rodrigue Beaubois who really stepped up in his place for Dallas (41-21). Beaubois matched a season high with 17 points and Nowitzki come on late for the Mavs after a slow start.

Nowitzki missed his first five field goals before finally sinking a 17-footer with 8 minutes left in third quarter. When he penetrated for a 12-footer with 6:08 left in the game, that gave Dallas the lead for good.

"They are a spunky team," said Mavs forward Shawn Marion, who had 17 points. "We had them on their heels and we should have put them on their backs."

Minnesota (14-48), the last-place team in the Western Conference which won in Dallas a month earlier, closed the third quarter with 10 consecutive points and pulled to 89-87 when Jonny Flynn had a putback after rebounding his own missed layup.

Ramon Sessions' layup a minute into the fourth quarter tied the game at 91-91. The teams traded missed shots and turnovers for three minutes until Brewer made a 10-foot floater in the lane to put the Timberwolves up 93-91.

After Terry and Flynn traded 3-pointers, Nowitzki hit the go-ahead shot that made it 99-98 and Dallas held on for its first nine-game winning streak since March 2007. Minnesota has lost 10 of 11.

Nowitzki finished 6 of 14 shooting and made all 10 of his free throw attempts in his 900th game - all with Dallas since 1998.

"We made some silly mistakes, which has been the hallmark of our team," Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said. "But I'm proud of how hard they played."

While the 36-year-old Kidd was just getting a day off, Timberwolves leading scorer Al Jefferson missed the game while serving the first of his two-game suspension without pay after his arrest on suspicion of DWI early Sunday, hours after Minnesota's last game. Jefferson has apologized to the team and fans and said he accepted the team's punishment.

Brewer had 24 points and Flynn had 19. Kevin Love had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

But Minnesota had 22 turnovers that lead to 29 Dallas points.

"They bring out the best in us. It's a really good matchup for us," Flynn said. "But we turned the ball over too much. It's a recurring theme for us. ... What we've got to get better at is finishing off games."

When the Mavericks led 60-53 at halftime, Terry had 19 points and Beaubois 11. Their combined 30 points matched the scoring total by the Dallas starters and was one point more than Minnesota's starting five had at the break.

Kidd averaged 36 minutes a game in 60 starts, and was only 1 of 9 shooting with five points in Monday's victory at Charlotte. The All-Star guard, who turns 37 later this month, missed only one game before Wednesday. Dallas has three more games in four days starting Friday.

NOTES: Minnesota guard Wayne Ellington, who sprained his left ankle during practice Monday, was inactive. ... The Mavericks went on a 22-6 run after Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis was called for a technical foul early in the second quarter. That spurt gave Dallas its largest lead, 54-41. ... Minnesota jumped out to a quick 11-4 lead and didn't trail until Beaubois' 3-pointer broke a 24-all tie with 2 minutes left in the first quarter.