for this game

Nowitzki helps Mavericks edge Warriors to stay alive

May 2, 2007 - 7:13 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Despite wasting a huge lead of their own, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks needed a dramatic rally to stay alive in the playoffs.

Nowitzki scored 30 points and Josh Howard added 23 as the Mavericks stayed in contention in their Western Conference first-round series against the Golden State Warriors with a 118-112 victory in Game Five on Tuesday.

Devin Harris had 16 points and Jerry Stackhouse added 15 off the bench for Dallas, which erased a nine-point lead in the final three minutes to temporarily avoid one of the most shocking upsets in NBA history.

The Mavericks, who won a league-high 67 games during the regular season, were toppled twice on the road in Games Three and Four to fall behind 3-1 in the series.

Game Six is Thursday in Oakland.

"Game Six is going to be tough for both teams so we have to close the deal and at the same time they have to win to stay alive," Warriors forward Mickael Pietrus said. "It's going to be a fun game at home and I hope we end up on top."

The Mavericks appeared to be done when Baron Davis, who finished with 27 points and nine assists, drilled a 3-pointer from the arc to give the Warriors a 112-103 lead with 3:26 left.

Dallas then went on a 15-0 run to end the contest, including 12 by Nowitzki, who was called out before the game by his coach Avery Johnson for not being aggressive enough in the two playoff defeats in Oakland.

"Dirk was a whole lot more aggressive," Howard said. "We needed that; we needed him on the block to draw those fouls. If it wasn't for him, a lot of the shots that I, Terry, Stackhouse and Devin get wouldn't be there so we need him to stay aggressive."

Nowitzki, a leading candidate for regular-season MVP honors, nailed the second of his consecutive 3-pointers to bring the Mavericks to within 112-109 with 2:05 left.

"We just made some very poor judgments down the stretch, letting Nowitzki get open for two threes with a nice lead," Warriors coach Don Nelson said.

Harris scored on a layup to bring Dallas to within one, 112-111, before Nowitzki drilled two from the charity stripe to put the Mavericks in front, 113-112, with 48 seconds left.

"We made some big shots," Johnson said. "Dirk was huge in that stretch. Devin carried us. Boy, he was special with some of those finishes and drives. It was just a total team effort with DeSagana Diop and Austin Croshere, everybody."

Dallas made five more free throws to close out the game, including one due to a technical foul by the Warriors' Stephen Jackson, who was tossed from the contest for sarcastically clapping his hands in the direction of referee Ken Mauer.

"I didn't say anything," Jackson said. "I didn't do anything, I was just clapping for the simple fact that we didn't win this game, but we're still up 3-2 and going home.

It was the second ejection of the series for Jackson.

"Jackson will be fined by me, a substantial amount for getting thrown out again," Nelson said.

Dallas is trying to avoid becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose in a seven-game series and just the third all-time. Seattle lost to Denver in five games in 1994 and the Miami Heat also lost in five games to eighth seed New York in 1999.

Dallas began the game highly charged, as Howard and Nowitzki each had eight points in the first quarter to help the Mavericks take a 38-28 lead into the second period.

The lead reached 21 points when Dallas began the second quarter on a 15-4 run, which was capped by a 3-pointer by Croshere, for a 53-32 lead with 5:20 left in the half.

However, Golden State was resilient, chopping that deficit down to seven to go into halftime trailing, 62-55. Two 3-pointers by Jackson and one each by Al Harrington, Jason Richardson and Pietrus helped cut into the huge lead.

The Mavericks were so upset with themselves that Stackhouse received a technical foul from referee Bernie Fryer as the team was walking to the locker room at the half.

The Warriors outscored Dallas, 32-28, in the third quarter to trail, 90-87, entering the final quarter.

Richardson scored 23 points and Jackson and Matt Barnes each added 16 for Golden State, which shot 47 percent (39-of-83).

"I'm upset about a lot of things," Jackson said. "Mainly the loss, but we're going home and close it out."