Nowitzki scores 44, saves Mavericks in overtimeFeb 8, 2009 - 5:34 AM DALLAS (Ticker) -- Dirk Nowitzki enabled the Dallas Mavericks to salvage victory from the jaws of defeat on Saturday.
Nowitzki scored 14 of his 44 points in overtime and the Mavericks overcame a five-point deficit late in regulation and went on to a 115-114 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
"I just had to stay aggressive and look for my shot," Nowitzki said.
Jason Kidd hit a 3-point shot to tie the game at 97-97 - his first bucket of the night - with 13.1 seconds left to force overtime. Derrick Rose made a pretty drive in the game's final seconds, but couldn't get the shot to fall.
"I thought what Kidd did out there tonight was beyond belief," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "He's in on so many plays on both ends of the court. His five points were the biggest five points of the game. I don't think there would be any argument to that. He routinely takes the best player down the stretch and does great things when we need him to. My hat's off to him."
The overtime session was ruled by Nowitzki. After Tyrus Thomas' basket gave Chicago the lead, Nowitzki hit three straight jumpers while Chicago could only counter with a hoop by Ben Gordon as Dallas grabbed a 103-99 lead.
Nowitzki, who missed nine of his first 10 shots of the night, dropped another jumper with 43 seconds left to move the lead to 109-103. After Chicago climbed within 109-105, Nowitzki hit another jumper to hit the 40-point mark.
The All-Star forward hit four free throws in the final seconds and the Mavs need every point, as Gordon drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin.
"It's unbelievable how Dirk can start off tonight 1-for-10, then light you up for 10 in a row," Bulls forward Joakim Noah said. "There were just times during the game where you couldn't stop him."
Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro agreed.
"That's why he is a superstar. He's seven feet, he's fading away," Del Negro said. "We trapped him, we doubled him, we switched it and he's still fading away on us and couldn't get to it. He was getting hot and that's why he's a superstar."
Dallas needed Nowitzki's superb effort because it lost sixth-man supreme Jason Terry, who was knocked out after breaking the fourth metacarpal bone on his left hand in the first half. Terry's status will be determined after further examination.
The Bulls used an 8-0 run late in the fourth quarter to seemingly regain control. Trailing 90-87, they got two baskets from Tyrus Thomas and one apiece from Kirk Hinrich and Rose.
Thomas hit a 20-footer to bring the Bulls within 90-89. Hinrich then connected on a short jumper after Josh Howard's miss on the other end. Jose Juan Barea missed a driving layup and Rose found the net for the Bulls. Thomas completed the run with a strong drive and slam to make it 95-90.
Barea made a layup to cut the deficit to three and Dirk Nowitzki hit two free throws as Dallas crawled back within 95-94 with less than a minute left.
Rose responded with a teardrop to make the lead 97-94 with 24.7 seconds left. Goaltending would have been called as Howard touched the net, but the ball went through anyway.
Gordon led Chicago with 28 points.
DALLAS 115 FINAL IN 1ST OT
Feb 7 11:19 PM
DALLAS 97 END OF 4TH QTR GOING INTO OVERTIME
Feb 7 10:58 PM
DALLAS 77 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 7 10:21 PM
DALLAS 48 HALFTIME
Feb 7 9:38 PM
DALLAS 20 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 7 9:07 PM
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