Nowitzki’s strong finish leads Mavs over Bobcats
Dirk Nowitzki apparently wasn’t kidding when he said an early
season game against Charlotte was a must-win for the Mavericks.
Once the big German finally found his scoring groove, he got
Monta Ellis to play along.
Nowitzki scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter and
combined with Ellis to score Dallas’ last 19 points, and the
Mavericks kept the Bobcats winless in Dallas by rallying for an
89-82 victory Tuesday night.
”We were just reading one another,” said Ellis, who had 10 of
his 22 points in the fourth quarter, when Dallas outscored
Charlotte 29-15. ”Dirk did a great job of keeping us close, then
he got us ahead and we ran the two-man game and we just picked to
see what the defense was doing.”
Al Jefferson had 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, and
Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker scored 16 apiece for the Bobcats,
who fell to 0-10 in Dallas and 1-17 overall against the Mavericks
despite leading by 12 in the third quarter.
”We’ve got to get more organized,” said Walker, who also had
seven rebounds and five assists. ”We tend to stop doing what we’ve
been doing for the first three quarters. In order to win in this
league, you have to stick with what you’ve been doing.”
The Mavericks had lost four of their previous five and trailed
from late in the second quarter to the middle of the fourth before
rallying to wrap up a stretch of seven home games in nine
Dallas, which is 2-6 on the road, starts a four-game trip
Wednesday night in New Orleans.
”We talked about it a little bit during timeouts that we needed
to get things going,” said Nowitzki, who was 1 of 10 from the
floor in the first half. ”This was a big game for us with us about
to hit the road for a lot of tough games.”
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, who got
his fourth quarter going with a tough baseline jumper late in the
shot clock for a 78-76 lead, finished 22 points and five
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.
Dallas guard Jose Calderon played after missing one game with an
ankle injury and had back-to-back 3-pointers to give Dallas a 35-33
lead with 4:16 left in the first half. He finished with 12 points
on 4-of-5 shooting from long range and was on the floor with
Nowitzki and Ellis late.
”Nowitzki and Ellis took over the game,” Charlotte coach Steve
Clifford said. ”And if we would run around a double team, they’ve
got 3-point shooters all over.”
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.
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.
”The turning point was at the beginning of the fourth quarter
when we had a chance to extend the lead or to give it up,”
The Bobcats 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. Clifford said
he didn’t know how long Kidd-Gilchrist would be sidelined. ”It’s
going to be tough to make up for what he does,” Clifford said.