Nowitzki’s Season-High 37 Sinks Kings
Dallas 105, Sacramento 95
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 22 (Ticker) -- With the game hanging in the balance, Dirk Nowitzki did his best to mimic the spectacular scoring performance he had to endure two days ago.
Nowitzki scored 14 of his season-high 37 points in the final period as the Dallas Mavericks bounced back from an embarrassing loss by posting a 105-95 triumph against the struggling Sacramento Kings.
"We all felt embarrassed (by the LA loss)," said Nowitzki, who finished 14-of-23 from the floor and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. "We talked about it before the game and said we had to go out and forget about that one as quickly as we can. It wasn't great today, but it was a win."
Dallas led by as many as 14 points in the first half but allowed Sacramento to tie the game, 85-85, with 5 1/2 minutes left. Nowitzki responded by scoring the next 11 points, including a baseline 3-pointer in the face of Kings center Brad Miller followed by a shot from the baseline that made it 96-85 with 2:36 to go.
"We ran a couple plays and they switched (Miller) on me," Nowitzki said. "I had to be aggressive with that matchup, try to get fouled or get to the basket some. That really set up my shot for the (3-pointer) in the corner and the one pull up (jumper) I had."
"(Nowitzki) is our MVP, our go to guy," Dallas guard Jason Terry said. "When we need to get a basket, especially in a close game, we're going to go to him. He got the job done tonight." The Mavericks never were threatened thereafter as they won for the ninth time in their last 12 games overall and for the eighth time in the last 10 meetings against the Kings.
Sacramento played without starters Bonzi Wells (groin injury) and Peja Stojakovic (bad back), but managed to lead by as many as three in the fourth quarter before Nowitzki took over.
"We felt like we put ourselves in position to try and take control of the game," said Kings forward Corliss Williamson, who scored a season-high 12 points off the bench. "They did a great job of keeping their composure on our court. We missed a few shots down the stretch and they capitalized on it."
Nowitzki scored 13 points in the opening quarter and Jason Terry added eight of his 19 as Dallas raced to a 31-17 lead with 1:23 left in the first period.
"We thought that the way we set the tone in the first quarter really helped us," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "Jason got us off to a good start and was hot early on."
Mike Bibby scored nine of his 22 points in the second quarter, including a jumper that cut Sacramento's deficit to 49-47 late in the first half. However, the point guard did not have an assist for just the second time in his seven-plus seasons.
The undermanned Kings, who have lost four straight games, had six players in double-figures. The much-maligned bench outscored Dallas' reserves, 29-17, thanks to the efforts of Williamson and rookie guard Ronnie Price, who added a season-high 11 points. "I thought our guys really played hard," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "I have nothing against the way we played tonight."