Thunder
Mavericks
99 - 103 Final
  for this game

Nowitzki goes off as Mavs trip Thunder

Dec 14, 2008 - 5:25 AM By Lary Bump PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DALLAS (Ticker) -- What a Dirk!

Dirk Nowitzki poured in a season-high 46 points as the Dallas Mavericks overcame the Oklahoma City Thunder's upset bid for a 103-99 victory on Saturday.

Oklahoma City, seeking just its third win in 24 games, led by as many as nine points in both the first and third quarters. A 10-0 run erased the last nine-point margin and put Dallas ahead 79-78 before Nick Collison's basket made the score 80-79 entering the fourth quarter.

"Give them a lot of credit. They played extremely hard," Dallas guard Jason Terry said. "You'd think a team that's two-and-whatever would come out and didn't care, play carelessly. They didn't."

From a 93-93 tie with three minutes to play, Terry put in a jump shot, Nowitzki made a 3-point basket despite close defense by Oklahoma City's Joe Smith and Devean George made the first of two foul shots for a 99-93 lead for the Mavericks.

"Dirk was amazing," Oklahoma City interim head coach Scott Brooks said. "You can't do anything when the guy is shooting with a hand in his face. That's what you teach. We can't teach them to put two hands in his face."

Nowitzki scored his points by making 17-of-30 field-goal attempts, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. He made all 10 of his foul shots.

"You see how it feels early," Nowitzki said. "The first couple of shots were adequate, and I got into a rhythm. I found myself open a couple of times, and the guys found me."

"When Dirk's in a rhythm and he gets to the paint and gets to the foul line, he's going to have a big night," Terry said.

The Thunder scrambled back with four points and had a chance to tie before turning the ball over. Nowitzki then made two foul shots for a 101-97 lead with 17.4 seconds left. After another turnover, Jason Kidd added two more free throws five seconds later.

"You know this game came to the stretch, and we could have got the one more stop we needed," said Jeff Green, who led the Thunder with 25 points.

Nowitzki, whose career high is 53 points, and Terry (28 points) were Dallas' only players in double figures.

"Dirk and (Terry), they were awesome," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're getting a lot of teams' best games right now, and I think it's great that we're finding a way to win."

"It took their two top players to have monster games; unfortunately, they did," Brooks said. "Our guys continue to battle. We're going to win some games."

Kevin Durant added 22 points for Oklahoma City, which had broken on top 10-4, with Green scoring eight points. The visitors took a 28-23 lead with Green totaling 14 points in the first period.

Dallas took its first lead at 45-44 five minutes before halftime when Nowitzki passed to Terry for a jump shot in the lane.

Six consecutive points by rookie Russell Westbrook broke a 46-46 tie and helped the Thunder to a 54-50 halftime lead.

The Mavericks (13-9) scored the first five points in the third quarter to take a 55-54 advantage, but the Thunder regained a 65-60 lead punctuated by Durant's dunk, then stretched the margin to nine.

Oklahoma City (2-22) has lost six in a row. The team is 1-11 on the road and 1-10 under Brooks.