for this game

Mavericks stage record-setting comeback over Timberwolves

Dec 31, 2008 - 5:34 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- By the time the middle of the fourth quarter rolled around, it practically seemed inevitable. Over the game's final minutes, the Dallas Mavericks made sure not to disappoint.

After falling behind by as many as 29 points, the Mavericks stormed back for the biggest comeback in franchise history, coming away with Tuesday's 107-100 triumph on the strength of a dominant second half.

Minnesota held a 70-41 lead early in the third quarter. But seemingly at that moment, a switch seemed to go off for the Mavs - perhaps the "we're-about-to-lose-at-home-to-a-six-win-team" switch.

"It just shows that there are two halves of basketball to play," said Mavs point guard Jason Kidd, who had a season-high 16 assists and his ninth double-double of the season. "We played terrible in the first half and then we played like the Mavericks in the second half. We were hoping that with Minnesota being a young team that we could get the game close and use our experience to get the win."

Whatever the cause, the Mavericks turned up the pressure and began piling on. Dirk Nowitzki knocked down back-to-back buckets to spark a 22-2 run that cut the deficit to single digits before the third quarter came to a close.

"We knew that we had to remain persistent. We didn't want to get discouraged," Terry said. "We are a great defensive field-goal percentage team and we pride ourselves on that. Going into halftime we looked at each other and knew that we had to find out what we as individuals could do to make a difference."

The Timberwolves answered back with a few big buckets to stay afloat, but the Mavericks quickly regained the momentum and took over in the final frame.

"It seemed like they (the Mavs) made their run in the second half and then just kept on coming," Minnesota guard Randy Foye said. "They wouldn't stop. We would make a little run and push it back to 12 or 13, but they just kept coming."

Or, more specifically, Jason Terry took over. The leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate engineered an 18-5 run practically by himself. He buried a pair of 3-pointers and knocked down a 19-footer to cut the deficit to just two at 91-89.

"We dug a hole for ourselves being down 29 points," Terry said . "Offensively, we didn't take the ball to the basket early on but in the second half we attacked. We were the aggressors. We put them back on their heels."

Jason Kidd finally tied things up with a long jumper with his toe on the 3-point line before Nowitzki gave Dallas its first lead since early in the first quarter with a dunk.

Al Jefferson's three-point play later in the quarter pulled Minnesota back even at 98-98, but Nowitzki answered again, attacking the basket and following his own miss with a go-ahead tip-in. After a shot-clock violation by the Timberwolves, Josh Howard connected from the arc and Nowitzki added another bucket to officially break Minnesota's collective back.

"We had the game in hand," Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale said. "Then they started chipping away and chipping away. Even when they started making a comeback, we held them off a few times. But the two things that hurt us were allowing them second shots and the fact that we couldn't come up with a defensive rebound when we needed it."

Terry led the way with 29 points off the bench for Dallas, while Nowitzki added 24 and 13 boards and Howard chipped in with 23 points.

Jefferson carried Minnesota with 21 points and nine boards.

"You can't blame anybody but us," Jefferson said. "It was a winnable game, we took bad shots, turned the ball over and they took advantage of it."