Nowitzki’s Big Finish Leads Mavericks
Dallas 83, Minnesota 79
DALLAS, Jan. 7 (Ticker) -- For the second time in as many nights, Dirk Nowitzki shook off fatigue to spark the Dallas Mavericks to a win.
Nowitzki scored 13 of his 26 points in the final period, including nine in the last 2:25, as the Mavericks rallied from a late seven-point deficit for an 83-79 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"We really dug deep," Nowitzki said. "We got in late last night. We were tired but sometimes that's what you have to do, fight through some fatigue and compete. For our team, I've got to stay aggressive and make stuff happen offensively. It was good enough to win the game."
"It uplifts us," Mavericks guard Jason Terry said of Nowitzki's performance. "I'm going to go to war with him all game long."
The German All-Star started off slowly with just five points in the first half and made just 8-of-24 shots overall. His teammates also struggled as the the Mavericks con just 15-of-43 shots in the first half.
"We really couldn't get anything going," Nowitzki said. "I knew it was bad, but I really didn't think it was that bad I thought shooting 35 percent there's no way we win this game."
"When you hold their best player to 8-for-24, you should win the game, but stuff is not going our way right now," said Minnesota forward Wally Szczerbiak, who collected 25 points and 10 rebounds.
But Nowitzki raised his game down the stretch.
Minnesota, which posted a 91-78 home win over Dallas on Wednesday, was poised to halt its five-game road losing streak when Szczerbiak hit a jumper for a 76-69 advantage with 3:40 remaining.
The Mavericks responded by scoring the next 11 points. After a 3-pointer by Terry, Nowitzki hit a pair of free throws, then followed home his own miss to level the contest, 76-76, with 1:31 to go.
"Down the stretch we really helped each other," Nowitzki said. "We were rotating. We were rebounding. That's something that we work on every day, helping each other, rotating and scrambling."
Nowitzki gave Dallas the lead for good with a three-point play with 53 seconds left, making a fadeaway jumper over Marko Jaric.
"I think we completely lost our composure," Szczerbiak said. "We were up and it was like we were just trying to find a way to lose."
Kevin Garnett, who collected 26 points and 11 rebounds, ended the run with a layup with 30 ticks left but narrowly missed another that would have given him a chance at a three-point play with 19 seconds to go.
Garnett split the ensuing free throws to get the Wolves within 82-79, but there was no offense left for Minnesota.
Nowitzki and Szczerbiak were tagged with technical fouls at 10:23 of the third quarter for a confrontation that occurred after Szczerbiak grabbed Nowitzki after he had already fouled him.
Nowitzki responded by shoving Szczerbiak, which prompted Garnett to verbally berate Nowitzki, although Garnett was not assessed a technical.
"I didn't hear a whistle, so I wasn't going to let him go up and hit an and-one," Szczerbiak said. "I didn't know what was going on. I just grabbed his arm. I didn't grab him to the floor or anything and just walked away. Whatever, he sure gets his share of calls."
"I thought the whistle was blown," Nowitzki said. "Wally kid of pulled me towards himself. That's why I shoved him away and that was about it. Then KG got involved. That was a whole lot of nothing really so we moved on. I'm just glad we won the game."