Notebook: Mavericks 100, Bulls 98

Posted Mar 30, 2013 6:58 PM

Dave Ivey, for

THE FACTS: Like countless times before, Dirk Nowitzki came to the Dallas Mavericks' rescue Saturday afternoon. This time, he may have saved their season. Nowitzki scored 15 of his season-high 35 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left to give Dallas an improbable 100-98 victory against the visiting Chicago Bulls.

The Mavericks (36-37) closed the game with a 15-1 run and kept their quest for a 13th consecutive playoff berth alive. Nowitzki scored their last eight points and finished 14-for-17, including 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. The Bulls (39-32) appeared to be cruising toward a fourth straight win with a 12-point lead and four minutes to play, but missed their last seven shots from the field. With 15.9 seconds left and a one-point lead, Jimmy Butler bricked two critical free throws. After Nowitzki's bomb, Nate Robinson missed from the corner as time expired.

Brandan Wright posted his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds and Vince Carter added 17 off the bench for Dallas, which has won four of its last five and finished 11-5 in the month of March. The Bulls got 25 points apiece from Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Robinson.

QUOTABLE: "Dirk was able to free up and took us out of the match. He's made a career out of doing that."
-- Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich.

THE STAT: Robinson hit his first 7 3pointers and finished one shy of his career high for makes. His seventh was a 33-foot heave at the shot-clock buzzer with 6:00 remaining. The only other player to sink that many treys without a miss against the Mavericks was Cleveland's Mo Williams (7-for-7) on Nov. 28, 2009. The Bulls' franchise record was set by Ben Gordon (9-for-9) on April 14, 2006 vs. Washington.

TURNING POINT: Robinson scored 14 of the Bulls' first 16 points in the fourth and Chicago extended its lead to 97-85 on Deng's 3-pointer at the 4:08 mark. Chicago's only score after that came on a Boozer free throw with 41.2 seconds left. For the game, Boozer was 3-for-7 at the line and the Bulls were just 10-for-18 (55.6 percent).

QUOTABLE II: "It didn't look good down by 12, but we made it tougher on Nate and made him put the ball on the floor a little more. We collapsed and got some rebounds and we had to speed the game up some. ... We were able to get some quick scores and that's what you need when you're down."
-- Nowitzki.

HOT: Nowitzki scored 20 points in the first half without missing a shot, going 8-for-8 from the field with two 3-pointers and 2-for-2 at the foul line.

NOT: O.J. Mayo missed his first 12 field-goal attempts and finished 1-for-13. An MRI before the game revealed a mild sprain of the AC joint in his left shoulder. He began the game wearing a harness to protect the injured shoulder, but took it off after missing two left-handed layups in the first quarter.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Elton Brand returned to the Mavericks' starting lineup for the first time in two weeks, but was outplayed by Wright. Brand tallied two points, one rebound and one blocked shot in 16:21, playing just 1:05 in the fourth.

NOTABLE: Chicago played without Joakim Noah (right foot), Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain) and Richard Hamilton (lower back), in addition to Derrick Rose (left knee). ... Dallas plays its next four on the road, then finishes the regular season with four of its last five at home. ... The Mavericks used their 22nd different starting lineup. ... With his fourth bucket of the game, Nowitzki passed Gary Payton (8,708) for 19th place in NBA history in field goals made. ... Carter made at least one 3-pointer in all 16 games in March. ... Boozer added 11 rebounds for his 36th double-double.

UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Tuesday @ L.A. Lakers, Thursday @ Denver, Friday @ Sacramento. For the Bulls, Sunday vs. Detroit, Tuesday @ Washington, Thursday @ Brooklyn.