Nowitzki scores 38 as Mavericks knock off JazzJan 10, 2007 - 6:55 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) Dirk Nowitzki had his usual outstanding performance, but he needed his teammates to overcome the Utah Jazz.
Nowitzki scored 36 of his season-high 38 points after the first period and the Dallas Mavericks regained their winning ways with a 108-105 victory over the Jazz.
Josh Howard added 21 points for the Mavericks, who bounced back from Sunday's 101-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers that snapped a 13-game winning streak.
"Obviously, after we just came off a tough loss against the Lakers, where we felt we let the game slip away in the fourth quarter, " Nowitzki said. "We definitely wanted to get a win here. Utah really embarrassed us in the first meeting, really took it to us."
In that meeting, a December 11 showdown in Salt Lake City, Nowitzki was overshadowed in his head-to-head with Carlos Boozer, whose 31 points and 11 boards spurred the Jazz to a 101-79 blowout.
In a crisp shooting rematch Tuesday night, the clubs sparred for nearly 44 minutes before Nowitzki's teammates started to make plays. Devin Harris and Jason Terry each made two free throws that gave Dallas a 102-97 lead with 2:38 to play. After Nowitzki knocked down a perimeter jumper, Terry drove the lane for a layup and a 106-101 lead with 1:41 left.
"I don't think we did a great job at the end of the game concentrating defensively," Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "I let Jason Terry get to the baseline and score in a crunch moment. Then we missed Nowitzki a couple times, and everyone knows he can score."
Utah's Deron Williams cut the deficit to three with a reverse layup and, after a few empty trips by each club, Erick Dampier came out of nowhere to block Williams' driving attempt with 13 seconds left.
"I just tried to get something to the basket," Williams said. "I don't know if it was a block or not. I thought it was a goaltend, but I don't know."
Nowitzki hit two free throws with 10 seconds left for a 108-103 lead before Utah's
Boozer scored to cut the deficit to three with less then five seconds remaining. But on the ensuing possession, Nowitzki nearly gave the Jazz the chance to battle it out in overtime in a rare mental lapse for the All-Star forward.
Nowitzki took the inbounds pass, drove the lane and missed a layup that was rebounded by Kirilenko, giving Utah three-tenths of a second for a potentially game-tying desperation three.
However, Mehmet Okur's 3-point heave from the left corner didn't come close, and the Mavs avoided overtime to win their 14th game in 15 chances.
"I blacked out a little bit," Nowitzki said of his late layup attempt. "At that point, you just want to hold the ball and dribble out the clock. But it was kind of instinct the lane was open and I just went for it. But obviously, it was a dumb play."
Nowitzki fell into trouble early on, picking up two first-quarter fouls to send him to the bench. But after Dallas fell behind by eight at the half, Nowitzki took over, scoring 15 in the third and 10 in the final period.
"That early foul trouble hurt me a little bit," Nowitzki said. "But in the second quarter I was able to find a rhythm a little bit, had some good looks."
Utah dropped to 17-2 when leading after three quarters and 14-3 at home. Though typically a fourth-quarter team this season, the Jazz struggled in the final 12 minutes Tuesday night. After shooting 56.5 percent (26-of-46) through the first three periods, the Jazz were just 8-of-21 in the final frame.
In a typically physical battle between the two Western-Conference rivals, tensions ran high late in the third quarter when Jerry Stackhouse's elbow sent Matt Harpring to the floor. The veteran Dallas guard was whistled for a flagrant foul and, just moments later, called for a technical as well.
"I mean, its just a bad call," Stackhouse said. "I think Joe Forte saw it that way. The other ref had already called a flagrant. Then after that I was just having a conversation with Sloan and I get a technical foul. What am I going to do, beat the coach up?"
Stackhouse, who finished with 11 points in 17 minutes off the bench, was ejected late in the third quarter after getting his second flagrant foul - this time while trying to strip Utah center Jarron Collins.
"(Collins) moved the ball down there at the end and then obviously he flopped, because I really didn't even touch him. If anything I hit his arm, but that wouldn't make him fly all into the basket like that. But that's coward basketball, that's what they play," Stackhouse said. "I don't care much for them, they don't care much for me. That's why it's always good to come in here and get a win."
Terry finished with 18 points and six assists and Harris 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting for Dallas, which shot 53 percent (37-of-70).
Boozer scored 29 points and Okur and Matt Harpring had 14 apiece for Utah, which lost for the eighth time in the last 10 games against Dallas.
UTAH 105 FINAL
Jan 9 11:42 PM
UTAH 82 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 9 11:02 PM
UTAH 53 HALFTIME
Jan 9 10:15 PM
UTAH 24 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 9 9:39 PM
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