Friday, January 31, 2003
Mavs have just enough gas
The Associated Press
DALLAS - Playing for the second straight night, the Dallas Mavericks used a 19-1 spurt to take a fourth-quarter lead. Just as quickly, they were down by six with five minutes left.
"I didn't think we'd have enough energy to come back and sustain it," Mavs coach Don Nelson said.
Dirk Nowitzki proved him wrong.
Playing with a sore neck caused by a flagrant foul by Kevin Garnett, Nowitzki had a 3-pointer, a dunk, a jumper and a steal in the final 2:02, sending Dallas past Minnesota 112-109 Thursday night and ending the Timberwolves' six-game winning streak.
"That was a fun game. It went back and forth all game," said Nowitzki, who had 32 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. "It was surprising we had the energy to come back like that at the end. It shows that we're a tough team."
In the other NBA games Thursday night, Milwaukee beat Washington 97-90, and Sacramento defeated Seattle 95-77.
The Mavericks and Timberwolves had plenty of wild swings.
Dallas had 30 points in the first quarter, then just 16 in the second. The Mavs answered with 37 in the third, including the bulk of their big run.
Minnesota ended it by starting its own spurt, a 14-2 streak that put it up 99-93.
But the wildest swing came from Garnett.
In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Nowitzki blew by Garnett and was headed to the rim when Garnett swung his right forearm. He came nowhere near the ball, instead pounding Nowitzki in the back of the head and neck.
"It wasn't like it looked," said Garnett, who had 31 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists. "Dirk likes to pump the ball behind his head. I was trying to anticipate and just trying to block the shot. It was nothing intentional."
While Nowitzki was down, Michael Finley got in Garnett's face. Finley and Garnett each received technical fouls and Garnett was called for a flagrant foul.
"I felt the foul was a little excessive and I can't let him do that," Finley said. "There's no love lost between us. It was just something I felt I had to do."
Nowitzki wore an ice pack on his neck during timeouts. While on the court, he often tilted his head shoulder-to-shoulder to keep loose.
"He hit me pretty good," Nowitzki said. "It was a hard foul, but you don't want anyone to have easy layups. All I felt was a hit on the head and then my neck was sore."
Troy Hudson, who had a season-high 31 points, hit his fifth 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to get Minnesota within 110-109.
The Timberwolves were forced to foul Steve Nash on the inbounds pass. The league's second-most accurate foul shooter hit a pair with 0.6 to play.
Then Nick Van Exel intercepted the long inbounds pass to end the first game this season between teams that met in the first round of the playoffs last year. Dallas won that series in three games.
"It was a great game for people to watch, not to coach," said Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, whose team had won eight of nine overall and three of four on the road.
Nash had 25 points and eight assists. LaFrentz had 13 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. Finley had 17 points.
Joe Smith had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Wally Szczerbiak had 14 points for Minnesota.
Bucks 97, Wizards 90
At Milwaukee, Sam Cassell scored 31 points to help Milwaukee overcome 24 points from Michael Jordan in what was likely his last game at the Bradley Center.
Jordan's fadeaway jumper over Ray Allen pulled Washington to 89-87, but he missed his next three shots as the Bucks iced the victory with a basket and four free throws by Cassell.
Kwame Brown tied his career high with 20 points for Washington.
Kings 95, SuperSonics 77
At Seattle, Hedo Turkoglu moved into the starting lineup and scored 22 points, while the newest All-Star, Peja Stojakovic, had 17 points and 14 rebounds for Sacramento.
Jim Jackson added 21 for the Kings, who snapped a three-game losing streak despite playing their first game without Chris Webber, out three weeks after spraining his left ankle.
Rashard Lewis scored 25 points for Seattle.
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