Terry, Harris Help Mavs Race Past Wolves
Dallas 102, Minnesota 95
DALLAS, Dec. 18 (Ticker) -- Jason Terry and Devin Harris found another gear in the fourth quarter.
Terry and Harris used their quickness to push the pace in the final period and lift the Dallas Mavericks to their eighth win in nine games, a 102-95 victory over the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves.
"They weren't really getting back," Harris said. "We watched them all game long; they sent a lot of guys to the offensive glass. If they send four or five guys that should create 3-on-2's and 2-on-1's for us at the other end."
"We talked about it because we were trying to see if we could get any easy baskets," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "We scored 35 points in the fourth quarter and that's pretty good for our team. We were pushing it to see what we could get."
The backcourt duo allowed Dallas to overcome a sluggish performance by All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, who had a rare four-point play in the second quarter but scored 19 points on just 6-of-16 shooting.
"I thought Kevin (Garnett) was all over me the whole game," Nowitzki said. "That really opened up a lot of things for the other guys. Devin got in the lane some, JT (Terry) had some good shots and Josh (Howard), when (Wally) Szcerbiak was on him, really took it to him. It's all about a team effort combining everybody together and really pulling together. It was a big win."
A jumper by Troy Hudson, who scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, gave Minnesota a 70-70 tie with 10:38 to play. Harris got inside the defense and fed Adrian Griffin for a layup and Terry pulled up on a fast break for a 3-pointer.
After a 3-pointer by Szczerbiak, who scored 28 points, Nowitzki beat the shot clock with a jumper, his only basket of the final period. Terry stripped Garnett and started a fast break that resulted in a layup for Howard, who turned another fast break into two free throws and an 81-73 lead with 6:36 to go.
"It was key for us to get stops and then push it right back at them," Terry said. "(Howard) grabbed two or three rebounds and just took off. It just opened up and we took it all the way in and either scored or got fouled. That's what we were looking to do, play at our pace. We were able to do that in the fourth quarter."
"We just went out there, ran our offense and did what Avery wanted us to do on the defensive end as well," Howard said. "That's one thing he preached (Saturday) in practice. We just went out there and did what he wanted us to do and that was to push the ball."
The Timberwolves closed to 84-80 before Harris sped through the defense for the layup, set up Howard for another fast-break layup and followed a jumper by Howard with his own jumper for a 92-80 bulge with 1:43 remaining.
Dallas made 8-of-10 free throws in the last 82 seconds for its third straight win.
Howard scored 23 points and Keith Van Horn added 13 for the Mavericks (18-6), who picked up a game on first-place San Antonio (19-5) in the Southwest Division.
Garnett had 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Wolves, who have lost four straight games after winning five in a row. The superstar scored just four points in the final period.
"They did a good job on Kevin, but he still had 20 points and 16 rebounds," Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said.
The Mavericks led by 12 points in the second quarter before settling for a 43-34 halftime lead. The Timberwolves rallied for a 59-58 lead on a 3-pointer by Trenton Hassell before a pair of 3-pointers by Van Horn gave Dallas a 64-59 bulge late in the third period.