Mavericks top Cavaliers 121-116 as Dirk closes on Wilt
DALLAS (AP) – Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points, Dirk Nowitzki closed within three points of Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA scoring list and the Dallas Mavericks ended a seven-game losing streak with a 121-116 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.
Nowitzki got hot early in the fourth quarter and finished with 14 points to bring him to the cusp of Chamberlain for sixth place on the career scoring list. He has another home game on Monday before the team leaves on a three-game road trip.
The Mavericks ended a seven-game losing streak and won for just the second time in 14 games.
Nowitzki entered the fourth with just four points, but hit a turnaround jumper, a 3-pointer, two free throws and then another from long range with 7:15 left in the game.
With the crowd buzzing on every Mavericks possession in the final minutes, Nowitzki missed his next two shots and then came out with 5:12 remaining. He came back two minutes later and missed three more times before coming out for good to a standing ovation in the final seconds.
With leading scorer Luka Doncic out with a right knee contusion, Hardaway led a balanced Dallas attack with seven Mavs scoring in double figures. Maxi Kleber had 18, and Jalen Brunson and Dwight Powell 16 apiece.
Collin Sexton scored 28 for the Cavaliers, the rookie’s fifth straight game above 20. Kevin Love and Cedi Osman each had 22 for Cleveland, which has lost three in a row.
Trey Burke hit a 3-pointer and a driving layup as part of a 7-0 run early in the second quarter to give Dallas a 43-30 lead. Burke’s college teammate Hardaway hit a turnaround jumper and Dorian Finney-Smith dunked to extend the Mavericks’ lead to 55-35. Dallas hadn’t led by that many points in a game since Jan. 30.
The Cavaliers closed the half on an 18-6 run to cut it to 66-57.
Cavaliers: Though both attended shootaround Saturday, Larry Nance (rib contusion) and Tristan Thompson (left foot soreness) remained out for Cleveland. … With Phoenix winning Saturday at New Orleans, Cleveland’s six road wins are the fewest in the NBA.
Mavericks: Brunson and Powell’s numbers have spiked since the All-Star break, with Powell averaging 17 points (nine prior to the break) and Brunson averaging 16 (seven). Brunson is also shooting 92 percent from the free throw line compared to 67 percent before the break. … Finney-Smith scored 14 to reach 1,000 points for his career.
Cavaliers: Host Detroit on Monday, starting a three-game homestand.
Mavericks: Host New Orleans on Monday.
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