for this game

Kidd just misses 100th triple-double in Mavericks win

Mar 1, 2008 - 7:22 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Forgive Jason Kidd if he delayed history just a bit longer.

Kidd finished one assist short of his 100th career triple-double with 21 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists and Dirk Nowitzki added 34 points for the Mavericks en route to a 115-106 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

Acquired from the New Jersey Nets on February 19 to help the Mavericks in their pursuit of the franchise's first title, Kidd passed up several opportunities late to record his 10th assist - much to the home crowd's dismay - instead opting to run the clock and guarantee a Dallas victory.

"I can't look at the scoreboard or be worried about that," Kidd said. "I've got too many things going through my head, running the plays, chasing (on) defense. I don't have that type of vision and I think that scoreboard is a little too high for me to see."

Kidd's next triple-double will allow him to join Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson as the only players in NBA history with 100 or more such career performances.

"My teammates were teasing me when I came out that (I) couldn't get one more assist," Kidd said. "The beauty of that is I've always believed in my teammates that they're going to knock down shots. I told them not to worry about it, you guys will have another chance at it come Sunday."

Dallas, which held a 57-54 advantage at the break, appeared to be losing its grip of the game after Sacramento used a 13-3 run over a 3:44 stretch of the third quarter to turn a 67-66 deficit into a 79-70 lead with 1:52 remaining in the period.

However, Josh Howard sparked a furious rally for the Mavericks to close the quarter as Dallas scored the final 12 points of the period.

The quarter ended emphatically when Kidd stole the ball from Beno Udrih along the sideline near midcourt. Kidd dove into the seats to save the ball from going out of bounds, finding Nowitzki.

"I guessed right and got my hand on the ball," Kidd said. "Dirk is making noises behind me to let me know he's there - like I didn't see him - so I just flipped it back to him. I didn't get a chance to follow the play. I just listened to the crowd. When the crowd went crazy, I assumed that he did something right.

"I asked him later (if) he banked it in and he said, 'Yea.' I said, 'Yea, I got you an assist from half-court.' That was good."

Nowitzki was appreciative of the hustle his new teammate showed.

"If he doesn't get the steal, the play doesn't happen," Nowitzki said. "It was definitely great hands by him. He got it back to me and, obviously, the shot was lucky. To bank it in was a little tough and a little lucky. It was a big play. The momentum shifted there and we took a three-point lead into the fourth."

With time running out in the quarter, Nowitzki collected the pass and took a couple steps and hoisted a running 35-footer which banked off the glass and through the basket as time expired. It gave the Mavericks an 84-81 advantage heading into the final period.

Stunned by the late Mavericks' charge, the Kings allowed the first six points of the fourth quarter as well, capped by a jumper from Jerry Stackhouse which ended a 18-0 run to leave the Mavericks with a 90-81 lead.

"Defensively, we kind of stepped up," Kidd said. "(Beno) Udrih was having a great game. We just tried to take the ball out of his hands and make somebody else execute the offense.

"Right before the end of the quarter, we get the steal and the 3-point shot from Dirk. That gave us some energy and from there we just built on that."

"They're a good team and they have a lot of weapons," Udrih said. "I was trying to tell my teammates that we have to be careful and make smart decisions. At the end of the first and third (quarters), we didn't do that. Like I said, they have a lot of weapons and when you make a mistake, they punish you. So they did that, and it made a difference."

The Kings found their bearings after the Mavericks' initial surge, scoring the next seven points to trim the lead to two, but Dallas stretched the advantage back out to seven at 99-92 with Kidd's 3-pointer.

"Everybody knows it's fun watching Kidd," Nowitzki said. "He's all over the court, he's pushing the ball and finding open shooters. He (actually scored) today when he got in the paint. He was aggressive and that's what we need him to do.

"If teams stay home on him and really make him score, he's got to get in there and make some plays, and that's what he did."

Sacramento responded with a 9-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Francisco Garcia along the baseline with 2:54 left in the contest to close to within 101-99.

Kidd answered with a layup before Kevin Martin drained another shot from the arc to close the gap to 103-102 with 2:18 remaining.

However, the Kings were unable to complete the rally as Stackhouse's 3-pointer on the next possession sparked a game-ending 12-4 run to secure the Mavericks' ninth straight victory over Sacramento - improving them to 25-3 at American Airlines Center.

"We really had to work for this one," Nowitzki said. "They made it hard for us and kept on making plays. It was a one-point game down the stretch, and I think we responded well. Stack (Jerry Stackhouse) and all the boys played well."

Martin and Udrih each scored 25 points to pace Sacramento, which lost its fourth straight game.