Nowitzki helps Mavs top Jazz, end skidJan 18, 2009 - 6:50 AM By John Tranchina PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
DALLAS (Ticker) -- The Dallas Mavericks' slump is over.
After losing their four previous contests, the Mavericks rode a 39-point performance from Dirk Nowitzki to an impressive 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
Nowitzki, who shot 16-of-20 from the floor, added eight rebounds, while Jason Terry scored 22 points off the bench for the Mavericks, who are now 6-1 in their last seven home games.
Jason Kidd added his 10th double-double of the season, scoring 11 points and dishing out 15 assists while also pulling down seven rebounds.
"We had a great practice yesterday and we needed to get our intensity back and have fun playing together and playing hard on the defensive end," said Nowitzki, who recorded his sixth 35-point game of the season. "Heck of a game and we really needed the win."
"We had to find a way to win that game tonight and they did," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "They did it with a level of collective toughness that we are going to have to have every night."
For the Jazz, Deron Williams, who is from the Dallas area, continued his recent hot streak, collecting 30 points and nine assists before fouling out with 43 seconds remaining. Williams is now averaging 26.3 points over his last four outings.
But all Williams could talk about was Nowitzki.
"Dirk's a great player and always does a good of of pulling his team together," Williams said of his Dallas counterpart. "He hit some incredible shots tonight. It didn't matter if there was a hand in his face of two bodies on him, he hit shot after shot and willed his team to victory."
Mehmet Okur contributed 23 points and 11 rebounds for Utah, which lost for just the second time in its last seven games.
"I thought they had an excellent game," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of his opponents. "Their ability to rebound the basketball killed us - 15 offensive rebounds, 42-30 on the rebounding edge of the game.
"I thought that was the difference in the ballgame. They got second shots in the second half that kind of broke our back."
Dallas snapped an 81-81 tie on Jose Juan Barea's basket late in the third quarter and maintained a lead throughout the fourth quarter, but it was unable to build an advantage larger than the 97-90 edge it held with 6:05 remaining when Nowitzki sank a 20-foot jump shot.
Utah, however, kept battling to hang in the game and pulled to within 106-102 on Williams' free throw with 2:02 remaining.
"We had a tough time executing, and I think you've got to give them credit on defense," Sloan said. "They got out and put pressure on us and we just relied on outside shots again. I think that's one of the reasons why they got offensive rebounds, that's why they beat us on a the break a couple of times."
Antoine Wright then hit one from underneath the basket and, following a missed 3-pointer by Okur, Terry stuck the dagger in with a 3-pointer from the baseline with 52 seconds on the clock to give the Mavs a 111-102 lead. It was Terry's only shot from beyond the arc that went down in eight attempts.
"Our veteran guys showed major league guts because Utah's a terrific team," Carlisle said. "Jason Kidd and Jason Terry and Dirk, they just made play after play, both offensively and defensively down the stretch.
"Antoine Wright hit a huge shot for us underneath the basket, falling away, in a crowd. They made runs and we were able to finally pull away a little bit the last two minutes."
The Mavs went ahead 17-12 on Wright's authoritative slam with 4:31 left in the first quarter, but the Jazz then reeled off a 17-0 run to take a 29-17 lead on Ronnie Brewer's 3-pointer 1:04 into the second.
Dallas responded with a 13-2 run of its own to climb back to within 31-30 on Nowitzki's long jump shot three minutes later.
"He's a terrific player," Sloan said of the 7-foot Nowitzki. "It's difficult to guard to him, he's so big and long. You make a mistake and give him any kind of breathing room, he can step up and knock it down. He's a great player."
After a 9-3 run gave the Mavs a 55-48 edge with 31 seconds left in the half when Nowitzki drove the lane and put up an easy layup, Dallas took a four-point lead into the intermission following another 3-pointer from Williams.
"We're very good on the break and the semi-break," Nowitzki said. "But for us to get in the break situations, we have to get some stops and get the ball into Kidd's hands and that's when we're at our best.
"When we let the defense set up and it's a grind-it-out kind of game, I don't think that plays to our strengths, so we've got to get out and run. It was a great, great team effort and I'm really happy."
Utah opened the second half with a 10-2 run to go up 61-57, but Dallas battled back and each club took turns taking the lead in a see-saw third quarter. The Mavericks took an 83-81 edge into the fourth quarter.
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
UTAH 23 28 30 27 108
DALLAS 17 38 28 32 115 FINAL
HIGH SCORERS: UTH - DERON WILLIAMS 30, MEHMET OKUR 23, CJ
DAL - DIRK NOWITZKI 39, JASON TERRY 22,
BRANDON BASS 17
Jan 17 11:21 PM
DALLAS 83 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 17 10:44 PM
DALLAS 55 HALFTIME
Jan 17 10:00 PM
DALLAS 17 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 17 9:32 PM
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