Quality fourth quarter leads Mavs over Bobcats
DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki recovered from a rough start to score 25 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, and the Mavericks kept the Charlotte Bobcats winless in Dallas with an 89-82 victory Tuesday night.
Nowitzki, who was 1 of 10 from the field in the first half, and Monta Ellis took over late after struggling most of the game. They scored the last 19 points to help the Mavericks outscore Charlotte 29-15 in the fourth.
Al Jefferson scored 19 points, and Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker had 16 apiece for the Bobcats, who are 0-10 in Dallas and 1-17 overall against the Mavericks. That’s the worst record in the league for one team against another.
The Mavericks had lost four of their previous five and got the win to wrap up a stretch of seven home games in nine outings. Dallas, which is 2-6 on the road, starts a four-game trip Wednesday night in New Orleans.
Nowitzki put Dallas ahead for good 79-78 with a free throw after Josh McRoberts was called for a technical after getting whistled for a foul while Nowitzki was setting up with Ellis for a pick-and-roll with 3:08 left.
Ellis hit a driving layup on the same possession, and then a jumper after Anthony Tolliver missed a 3-pointer. Ellis finished 22 points and five assists.
Dallas was up 83-78 when Ellis jumped high for a rebound after a miss from Walker. Nowitzki hit a long jumper at the other end to turn the game into a free-throw exercise.
A cold-shooting first quarter provided a preview of a sluggish offensive game in the fourth quarter, when the teams either misfired or couldn’t get off a shot in 10 consecutive possessions with the Bobcats leading 73-70.
A 3-minute scoreless stretch ended with three straight made shots — two jumpers from Nowitzki over McRoberts and a bucket from Jefferson on an assist from McRoberts.
The 6-foot-10 McRoberts had three assists, including one on a running behind-the-back pass to Henderson for a fast-break dunk to cap an 11-0 run in the first half.
Dallas guard Jose Calderon played after missing one game with an ankle injury and had back-to-back 3-pointers to give Dallas a lead in the first half. He finished with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from long range.
The Mavericks scored the first five points of the fourth quarter on a runner in the lane from Vince Carter and a 3-pointer from Nowitzki to get within 67-65.
Carter got Dallas within 72-71 on an open 3-pointer from the right wing after an extra pass from Jae Crowder, but Ben Gordon scored at the other end to push Charlotte’s lead back to three.
Charlotte went ahead by 12 with a 10-run early in the second half. Henderson had a three-point play for a 54-42 lead after making a jumper earlier, and Walker hit a 3-pointer.
NOTES: The teams combined to shoot 28 percent in the first quarter (11 of 40). … Bobcats G Michael Kidd-Gilchrist left the game in the second half with a fractured left hand.