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Nowitzki helps Mavs survive late scare

Dec 18, 2007 - 5:37 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki and Jerry Stackhouse kept the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic going in opposite directions - but just by an inch.

Nowitzki scored 11 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and Stackhouse scored 21 off the bench as the Mavericks posted a 111-108 victory over the struggling Magic on Monday night.

"My teammates are going to look for me," said Nowitzki. "I'm going to look for my shot if its there, if not, move it and let somebody else make a play. I'm still going to be aggressive and play my game."

"He was tremendous," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "But you know, we've had a lot of people be tremendous against us. So I don't know if it's Dirk or us. Dirk's a great player, but everybody can score on us."

Jason Terry scored just eight points but had two big baskets down the stretch for Dallas, which has won five of six and has beaten Orlando 10 straight here.

"The month of November wasn't really great but our big goal was to improve from month to month," Nowitzki said. "So far, I think we took a step in the right direction. From November to December, I think we got better."

Dwight Howard scored 16 of his 22 points in the first quarter for the Magic, who have lost five of six and haven't won on the road against the Mavs since December 11, 1997.

"He got a couple of dunks there in the first half," Dallas center Erick Dampier said. "We just wanted to try to limit his touches and try to contest all of his shots.

"They double-teamed him in the second half every time he got the ball. I think it became pretty clear that they weren't going to be able to guard him 1-on-1 so they double-teamed him."

Although Dallas had a comfortable lead heading down the stretch, Orlando rallied and had the ball with 7.4 seconds left and trailing by three points.

Keith Bogans inbounded to Howard, who passed back to Bogans. The swingman took one dribble toward the left wing, raised up and drained what looked to be a game-tying shot over Nowitzki. However, Bogans' right foot barely touched the 3-point line and the referees correctly ruled it a two-pointer.

"I thought it was a three," Nowitzki said. "I was right on him. He had one dribble, I thought it was a three. To be honest I didn't see his feet. I tried to contest it as hard as I could and I looked up and they were giving him the two, so it was a little bit of a break. In this league, every once and a while you've got to have a little luck too."

"He stepped on the line," Magic guard Jameer Nelson said. "I was on the bench but it looked like he stepped on the line."

Stackhouse then converted two free throws before Keyon Dooling's running 3-pointer from just inside midcourt hit off the rim.

Stackhouse scored 13 points in the first half to help Dallas to a 57-54 lead. The Mavs pushed their lead to 11 points on a three-point play by Stackhouse with 4:20 left in the third before taking an 84-79 lead into the fourth.

Nowitzki hit a jumper in the lane and a 3-point bomb to provide an 93-85 lead with 7:48 left. After Orlando closed within four on Rashard Lewis' follow, Terry hit a jumper from the wing with 5 1/2 minutes left and his fast-break hoop off a nice pass from Devin Harris pushed the lead to 105-99 with 1:39 remaining.

"We couldn't stop them," Van Gundy said. "We can't stop anybody. Offensively, we played well. I thought we executed well down the stretch. I thought we hung well in the game. We got good shots down the stretch. We were inches from tying it and we did some good things offensively, but we're not guarding anybody."

Hedo Turkoglu sparked a late Orlando run with a 3-pointer and a jumper and J.J. Redick's straightaway 3-pointer brought Orlando within 107-104 with 36 ticks remaining.

Dallas didn't score on its end, but the Mavs fouled Nelson with 7.4 ticks left before Orlando could get off a 3-pointer. Nelson made both, but Nowitzki drained two from the stripe with seven seconds left, setting up Bogans.

Josh Howard scored 19 points and Harris added 15 and nine assists for Dallas, which shot 52.5 percent (42-of-80).

"I come into each game not knowing what to expect," Howard said. "They're one of the deepest teams in the NBA so they got guys coming off the bench just like we do. They could start for any other team so I was expecting it to be a good game."

Turkoglu scored 26 points for Orlando, which shot 52 percent (44-of-84).

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