Mavericks 98, Nets 90

After blowing a 25-point lead two nights earlier, the Dallas

Mavericks seemed like they were on their way to another

collapse.

Trailing by 20 with 8:23 remaining, Brooklyn stormed back to get

within four points with 37 seconds remaining.

But the Mavericks dodged a repeat of Wednesday night’s loss at

Memphis, closing out the Nets for a 98-90 victory on Friday night

behind 20 points apiece from Dirk Nowitzki and former Nets guard

Vince Carter.

”We played a lot more good minutes than we played in Memphis

for sure. It’s hard to play a perfect 48 minutes in this league,

I’ll admit that,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

”But we took advantage of our runs. We were able to stave them

off a few times. We had some guys step up and hit some big shots.

Vince hit one shot off a timeout that was big. O.J. (Mayo’s) 3 in

the right corner was a huge play. We made a few mistakes,

obviously. So hey, we’ll take it and run.”

Brooklyn’s season-long, second-half deficiency caught up to them

again. The Mavericks held the Nets to just 5-of-17 shooting from

the field in the third quarter before they found their shooting

touch in the fourth quarter, hitting 10-of-22 shots.

”We came out and we had a couple of turnovers early and we got

really flat after that,” Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo

said.

”We didn’t execute well but worse we just didn’t play with any

defensive energy and the score went from like 10 to 20 in a very

short time.”

It was a big win for the Mavericks, who still maintain hopes of

somehow claiming the eighth spot in the Western Conference despite

trailing the Houston Rockets by five games. The Mavericks, who had

lost their last three games, will face the Rockets on Sunday night

in the opener of a home-and-home set at Houston.

”It’s been a frustrating and disappointing season obviously

overall. We lost a couple of close games that we thought we

should’ve had,” Nowitzki said. ”We have to go in with a free

mindset and kind of forget what happened so far and let it all rip.

Houston is a great team. (James) Harden is having a phenomenal

year. They’re a tough team. They’re fast, athletic. So we got our

hands full.”

Mayo, who added 17 points, is looking forward to the matchup at

Houston after pulling off a road win in Brooklyn, just the Mavs’

10th in 30 tries this season.

”That’s a (team that’s) ahead of us and gives us the

opportunity to gain ground and make them back track a little bit,”

Mayo said.

”I thought we did our job. We did what was expected. A lot of

games this year we’ve been in and had the opportunity to win down

the stretch and at the end of the games lose. . A lot of those

times we had the lead going into the last five or six minutes and

couldn’t close it out. I thought we did what we needed to do to win

the game.”

Deron Williams scored 17 of his 24 points in the first half in

his first game against Dallas since deciding to remain with the

Nets instead of signing with the Mavericks last summer, but felt

his indecisiveness and thinking about when to pass the ball or not

played a role in Brooklyn’s latest loss at home, its third

straight.

”It started with me. I think it is kind of a snowball effect,”

said Williams, who led the Nets to a 49-48 halftime lead before

they had another dismal third quarter. Dallas outscored Brooklyn

29-14, as the Nets shot just 5 of 17 from the field.

”I was throwing the ball everywhere and it is just one of those

things where you see a guy making some bad passes and you start

thinking about it.”

Brook Lopez had 19 points and Joe Johnson added 11 as he

returned to the Nets after missing the last three games with a foot

injury.

”I think we just put ourselves in a bad position. One through

12, we did not have any energy, no energy on the floor, no energy

on the bench and that is tough,” Lopez said.

Brooklyn will have to turn it around quick when it visits the

Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. The Nets, fifth in the Eastern

Conference race, are just a half-game better than the Bulls.

Jae Crowder hit a 3-pointer after a turnover by C.J. Watson,

then Mike James hit another behind the arc to give Dallas its

biggest lead of the night at 83-63 before Brooklyn started to chip

away.

The Nets went on a 17-7 run to cut the lead to 94-90 after Lopez

hit a pair of free throws with 37 seconds remaining. Mayo then made

one free throw, and Watson missed a layup and failed to tip it in

on the second attempt, James was fouled and made one free throw to

make it 96-90.

After Williams missed a 3-pointer, Carter got fouled by Mirza

Teletovic and put the game away with a pair of free throws to give

Dallas a 98-90 lead.

Williams was the Mavericks’ top target in free agency, hoping he

would be convinced to return to the area where he starred in high

school. He said it was a tough decision, deciding to stay with the

Nets with a five-year deal worth about $98 million.

He has battled minor injuries throughout the season but has

played better of late, though did commit a game-high seven

turnovers Friday.

Notes: Brooklyn went 1-2 during Johnson’s absence. . New York

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and TV host Larry King were in

attendance. . Watson scored 11 points, all in the fourth

quarter.