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Terry, Nowitzki help Mavericks douse Bobcats

Dec 12, 2008 - 5:23 AM By Randy Krone PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DALLAS (Ticker) -- Jason Terry scored 26 points off the bench and reigning Western Conference Player of the Week Dirk Nowitzki added 23 as the Dallas Mavericks held off the Charlotte Bobcats for a 95-90 victory on Thursday.

Charlotte led 78-74 with 11 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Dallas then went on a 12-2 run through the 5:47 mark of the period to take an 86-80 lead.

Dirk Nowitzki sank a 3-pointer after a steal by Jason Kidd to give the Mavericks a 93-89 lead with 28 seconds left. Nowitzki finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

After Raymond Felton hit 1-of-2 foul shots to close the gap to 93-90, Terry canned a pair of free throws to bump the lead to five.

"We escaped," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "All these teams are tough, doesn't matter who's coming in. All these teams are capable, hard-playing teams. ... These guys played hard tonight with a 7-15 record."

The teams were tied at the end of the first quarter as Brandon Bass came off the bench for Nowitzki to score seven points in the final 3:41.

Charlotte opened a seven-point lead with just over a minute to play in the half behind forward Emeka Okafor, who had notched a double-double by late in the quarter. The Mavericks went on an 8-2 run to close the quarter, behind two 3-pointers by Terry closing to within 54-53 at the break.

The third quarter played out like the first two with Charlotte opening a lead of six points with 2:30 to play before Dallas went on a 7-1 run to end the quarter and tie the score at 74 to close the period.

"They played great defense. They were helping each other," Bobcats guard D.J. Augustin said. "They were closing in on the lane on us and we just couldn't get into the lane and create for anybody."

Terry led the Mavericks through the final 12 minutes with 11 points, including the first five points of the quarter.

"I still think we're searching for our identity defensively a little bit," Terry said. "We are changing the coverages, which can get confusing when you are subbing guys in and out. Sometimes defense comes down to will and mental toughness. You have to be willing to go out and defend and a lot of us are guilty on different possessions."

Dallas' defense was a key in the second half, holding Charlotte to only 36 points after surrendering 54 in the first half.

"It was about defense tonight," Carlisle said. "They're a difficult team because they are very persistent. They have excellent guard play. Their shooters got going a bit and their bigs were extremely active. We're fortunate."

The Bobcats were without Boris Diaw, Sean Singletary and Raja Bell, who were acquired in a trade with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

Okafor led the Bobcats with 27 points and 17 rebounds. Raymond Felton added 16 for Charlotte, which has lost five straight.

"All in all, I was thrilled," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said. "The effort was great. We had a lot of guys come in and play well and we defended pretty well. We had our chances. We played good enough to win but we couldn't get to the free-throw line no matter how hard we tried."

Kidd had 12 points and Bass another 11 for the Mavericks.

"They were missing a couple of guys, but they played hard," Nowitzki said. "Larry Brown really had them up and ready to play. We really shot better in the second half and our defensive rebounding was better in the second half and I think that is what really won us the game."