THE FACTS: Mike James paced seven Dallas Mavericks in double figures with a season-high 19 points in a 113-108 victory Sunday against the slumping Utah Jazz, whose nine-game road losing streak is their longest in 31 years. The 37-year-old journeyman, who signed with the Mavericks on Jan. 9, was 7-for-10 overall and 3-for-4 from downtown, adding five assists and three rebounds.
The Mavericks (34-36) caught the Jazz (34-36) in the standings and moved to within two games of the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas is 9-4 in the month of March and two games under .500 for the first time since Dec. 20 (12-14). Utah, which also had seven in double figures, has dropped four straight overall.
QUOTABLE: "Mike [James] played well. ... He has a great enthusiasm for the game. He competes. He's a competitor. We basically got him off the street in January."
-- Dallas coach Rick Carlisle.
THE STAT: Utah hasn't won away from home since Feb. 13 at Minnesota. It is the franchise's longest streak of road futility since a 17-game skid from Nov. 21, 1981-Feb. 6, 1982.
TURNING POINT: Dallas broke open a tight battle (seven ties and 23 lead changes) with a 20-2 run bridging the third and fourth quarters. The Jazz were just 1-for-11 from the field and committed five turnovers during that stretch, digging themselves an 89-71 hole with 9:55 to play.
QUOTABLE II: "We're going to lay everything out there for 12 games and see what happens."
-- Utah coach Tyrone Corbin.
HOT: James scored 12 points in the third quarter on 4-for-4 shooting, including two 3-pointers. ... Dallas forward Elton Brand was 5-for-5 from the field. ... The Mavericks were 28-for-33 at the free-throw line, led by reserves Vince Carter (8-for-8) and Darren Collison (11-for-13).
NOT: Al Jefferson scored 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting in the first quarter, but went 2-for-7 the rest of the game. He finished with just three rebounds, six below his season average and his fewest in any game since Feb. 9.
BAD MOVE: Dallas let down its guard after extending its lead to 98-77, allowing Utah to turn a blowout into a nail-biter. A three-point play by Gordon Hayward capped a 21-7 surge and got the Jazz to within 111-108 with 7.3 seconds left, but Collison knocked down two free throws.
QUOTABLE III: "We have to learn how to finish games. It wasn't fun at the end of the game. We have to be able to put them away not let them have hope and not give them an opportunity, but that's what we did tonight. The good thing is that we were able to finish it when we only played 46-47 minutes. This game is a 48-minute game and we shouldn't make the same mistakes again."
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Coming off a double-double in Friday's win against Boston, Mavs forward Shawn Marion tallied 15 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals and was 6-for-8. Marion had missed the previous eight games with a strained left calf.
NOTABLE: The Jazz swept the first two meetings this season in Salt Lake City. ... The Mavericks are 17-3 when they shoot 50 percent or better (54.3). ... Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 and needs four points to pass Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 17th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. ... Enes Kanter led the Jazz with 17 points off the bench. ... It was the fourth time this season the Mavericks had seven players in double digits. They had no such games last season. ... Brand's blocked shot in the fourth quarter was the 1,700th of his career, making him just the 24th player in NBA history to reach that milestone.
UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Tuesday vs. L.A. Clippers, Thursday vs. Indiana, Saturday vs. Chicago. For the Jazz, Monday vs. Philadelphia, Wednesday vs. Phoenix, Friday @ Portland.