Nowitzki carries Mavericks past Kings
Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Dirk Nowitzki poured in 34 points to help the Dallas Mavericks take a 107-103 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
Monta Ellis added 20 points, Jose Calderon had 14 points and seven assists and Brandan Wright finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks, who had dropped three of four entering the contest.
"Dirk was great, obviously, with 34 points in 34 minutes. It was a tough night because our shot-making wasn't great," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "It took us almost three-and-a-half quarters to hit a three. On those nights, you've got to hang in somehow."
Rudy Gay scored a game-high 35 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while also pulling down 12 rebounds and handing out six assists and Isaiah Thomas added 19 points and six assists for the Kings, losers in six straight.
Sacramento took a 78-64 lead on Gay's layup with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter. The Mavs scored six straight, with DeJuan Blair providing four straight points on the burst, but Thomas canned a 3-pointer to push the spread back to double digits.
Dallas scored the final five points of the quarter to ignite an 8-0 burst that bridged the third and fourth frames, but the Kings were able to stop the bleeding and went up 87-80 following a McLemore jumper with 9:50 to go.
An alley-oop from Nowitzki to Wright, followed by a 3-pointer from the former, highlighted a 12-1 Dallas run to put the hosts ahead 92-88, but four straight from the Kings tied things up at 92-92 just moments later.
With 2:01 left, Nowitzki used a vicious jab step to create room for a 20- footer that made it 100-96, and the Mavs never looked back.
Thomas missed a 3-pointer from the corner with 32 seconds left and Calderon chased down the rebound in the opposite corner, but started falling out of bounds. In an effort to avoid the turnover Calderon threw the ball at Marcus Thornton, who trapped the ball against his body and found Gay cutting to the hoop, but an Ellis three-point play erased all hope of a Kings' comeback.
"[They] got whatever they wanted (in the fourth). When you look at the game our first quarter defense was very good. The second quarter we don't defend anybody. Third quarter defense was excellent and allowed us to get out and run and Rudy kind of took the game over for a little bit, and then in the fourth quarter you allow that team to score 32 points," said Kings coach Michael Malone.
Dallas led 24-20 after the first quarter and took a 54-49 edge into the break. The Kings exploded for 32 points in the third and held Dallas to just 21 to make it 81-75 entering the final frame.
The Mavs outscored Sacramento 50-44 in the paint ... Dallas scored 18 points off 15 Kings' turnovers. The Mavs turned it over just four times ... Wright recorded his first double-double of the season ... Nowitzki was 11-for-11 from the free throw line ... Nowitzki has scored at least 30 points six times this season ... Gay was 15-for-17 from the stripe ... Kings center DeMarcus Cousins missed his fifth straight game with a sprained ankle.
02/01 00:13:25 ET