for this game

Nowitzki's triple-double helps Mavericks topple Bucks

Feb 7, 2008 - 6:06 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki's first career triple-double helped him come out on top in his battle against Mo Williams.

Nowitzki had 29 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists as the Dallas Mavericks posted a 107-96 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

Reserve Jason Terry scored 23 points and Josh Howard had 17 and eight rebounds for Dallas, which has won five straight against Milwaukee at American Airline Center.

Nowitzki's triple-double was the first by a Dallas player since Antoine Walker accomplished the feat on January 14, 2004 vs. Philadelphia.

"Guys were really making a lot of shots early, we got some easy layups," Nowitzki said. "Always getting the assist part of (the triple-double) has always been a problem for me."

"Dirk's triple-double was exciting," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "To sit there and witness it and be a part of it, he has just been getting better and better every year and every day."

The Mavericks, who've also won six of eight vs. the Bucks, overcame a season-high 36 points from Williams.

Williams had his second straight game of 30-plus points, trying to overcome the loss of leading scorer Michael Redd, who has missed six consecutive contests with a left knee strain. Williams had 32 against Memphis on Tuesday.

"I had to step up for us to have a chance," Williams said. "Me and (center) Andrew (Bogut) let the guys feed off us. We've got guys out. Bobby (Simmons') out, Mike's out, Yi (Jianlian)'s out. Those guys can put the ball in the hole.

"We've got guys who are kind of clean-up men in a Michael Ruffin and a Dan Gadzuric, the Royal Iveys, those guys kind of feed off us, so we had to get it going and let those guys work off us."

Williams had 32 against Memphis on Tuesday.

"Mo was tremendous offensively," Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak. "The rim was awfully big for him. He shot the ball well (Tuesday) as well at Memphis. A couple of 30-point games and playing with a lot of confidence, he's difficult to handle in pick-and-roll coverage."

Nowitzki, who connected on 9-of-17 from the floor and 10-of-12 from the foul line, notched his first triple-double when he grabbed his tenth board with 6:44 left.

"At halftime, I think I already had five assists so I was kind of thinking that this might be the night," Nowitzki said. "But I've been so close a couple of other times so it feels good to get it out of the way.

"It took almost 10 years, which is not good, but at least I got it out of the way and we got the win."

The reigning MVP then helped spark Dallas to victory in the final two minutes.

With the score knotted at 91-91 after the Bucks' Charlie Bell drilled a 3-pointer with 2:39 remaining, Dallas took the lead for good on its next basket.

Terry took a baseline jumper that missed, only to have Nowitzki tip the miss to Brandon Bass, who hammered the offensive rebound home over two Milwaukee defenders to make it 93-91 with 2:21 remaining.

"The loss is very disappointing," Krystkowiak said. "I thought we battled really hard, and it was 91-all there with two or three minutes to go. Bass has a big rebound put back on the loose ball.

"A few things could have bounced our way, and it would have possibly been a difference outcome. But they had some great performances from the guys on their team."

On the Bucks' next offensive possesion, Dallas guard Jose Juan Barea made a steal that led to two of Terry's 13 points in the period. Nowitzki then hit the second of two consecutive jumpers to make it 99-91 with 51 ticks on the clock to salt away the win.

Barea scored 13 points and Bass scored eight for the Mavericks, who shot 49 percent (39-of-80) and improved to 21-3 at home this season.

Andrew Bogut had 24 points and 14 rebounds and Williams made 14-of-29 from the field for Milwaukee, which shot 45 percent (37-of-82) and has dropped four of its last five games.

"I think we tried everything tonight on Williams," Barea said. "It was one of those nights when he was really hot in the first half. We tried going over (the screener), we tried going under, we tried trapping, but he was just making tough shots."