Streakin' Mavs win ninth straight
Dirk Nowitzki overcame a slow shooting start to finish with 22 points, including the go-ahead basket, and the Dallas Mavericks stretched their winning streak to nine in a row with a 112-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
With veteran point guard Jason Kidd getting a night off for the Mavericks, who played their 10th game in 16 days since the All-Star break, Jason Terry had 26 points and rookie Rodrigue Beaubois tied his season high with 17.
Nowitzki missed his first five field goals before finally sinking a 17-footer with 8 minutes left in third quarter. When he penetrated for a 12-footer with 6:08 left in the game, that gave Dallas the lead for good.
Corey Brewer had 24 points for Minnesota, which has lost 10 of 11.
Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots a jumper against the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game at the American Airlines Center on March 3, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.
While Kidd was just getting a break, Timberwolves leading scorer Al Jefferson missed the game while serving the first of his two-game suspension without pay after his arrest on suspicion of DWI early Sunday, hours after Minnesota's last game. Jefferson has apologized to the team and fans and said he accepted the team's punishment.
Minnesota (14-48), the last-place team in the Western Conference which won in Dallas a month earlier, closed the third quarter with 10 consecutive points and pulled to 89-87 when Jonny Flynn had a putback after rebounding his own missed layup.
Ramon Sessions' layup a minute into the fourth quarter tied the game at 91-91. The teams traded missed shots and turnovers for three minutes until Brewer made a 10-foot floater in the lane to put the Timberwolves up 93-91.
After Terry and Flynn traded 3-pointers, Nowitzki hit the go-ahead shot that made it 99-98 and Dallas held on for its first nine-game winning streak since March 2007.
Nowitzki finished 6-of-14 shooting and made all 10 of his free throw attempts in his 900th game - all with Dallas since 1998.
J.J. Barea started in place of Kidd, but it was Terry and Beaubois who really stepped up for Dallas.
When the Mavericks led 60-53 at halftime, Terry had 19 points and Beaubois 11. Their combined 30 points matched the scoring total by the Dallas starters and was one point more than Minnesota's starting five had at the break.
Kidd averaged 36 minutes a game in 60 starts, and was only 1-of-9 shooting with five points in Monday's victory at Charlotte. The All-Star guard, who turns 37 later this month, missed only one game before Wednesday. Dallas has three more games in four days starting Friday.
Terry was called for a foul with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, even though he was left sprawled on the floor with a bloody nose after taking an elbow in the face from Brewer. Terry went the locker room and Brewer hit two free throws, but Terry was back on the floor a few minutes later. He played the rest of the game with cotton sticking out of his nostril.
NOTES: Minnesota guard Wayne Ellington, who sprained his left ankle during practice Monday, was inactive. ... The Mavericks went on a 22-6 run after Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis was called for a technical foul early in the second quarter. That spurt gave Dallas its largest lead, 54-41. ... Minnesota jumped out to a quick 11-4 lead and didn't trail until Beaubois' 3-pointer broke a 24-all tie with 2 minutes left in the first quarter.