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Nowitzki helps Dallas hold off Portland

Apr 14, 2012 - 7:25 AM Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points, and Dallas continued its playoff push by holding off Portland, 97-94, Friday night.

Delonte West tallied 21 points and Shawn Marion scored 17 to go with 14 rebounds for the Mavericks, who have won three in a row and sit in sixth in the Western Conference. They are 1 1/2 games ahead of Houston and Denver and one back of fifth-place Memphis.

"I liked a lot of the things we did," Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. "I liked our intensity and our effort the majority of the night, but we made so many judgement errors that we can't make going forward."

Nicolas Batum scored 20 and Jamal Crawford had 18 for the Trail Blazers, who nearly rallied from a 24-point deficit, only to lose for the third time in four games.

Jason Terry's three-pointer boosted the Mavericks to a seemingly comfortable 93-77 lead with 4:11 remaining, but mistakes by Dallas helped the Blazers rally.

A three-point play from J.J. Hickson had Portland within 93-89 with 1:18 to go, and the hosts had a chance to get even closer when Nowitzki was whistled for an offensive foul. Raymond Felton made a poor pass at the other end of the court, resulting in a turnover, and that depleted much of the time left.

Even though Nowitzki missed a jumper, Felton turned it over again and Nowitzki sealed the outcome at the foul line.

"We came up short, but we [didn't] give up so that's a good thing to come out of this game," Batum said.

Portland went 6-of-24 from the field in the opening quarter and trailed 30-16 after 12 minutes. The Blazers gave up the game's first nine points and never recovered.

The Mavs led 56-41 at the half and were up as many as 24 at 79-55 late in the third.

Game Notes

The Mavs were in the Pacific Northwest for the first time since Game 6 of last season's Western Conference quarterfinals when Nowitzki had 33 points as Dallas eliminated the Trail Blazers with a 103-96 win...Hickson had 13 points and 10 boards.