Dirk leads Mavs past Thunder on road

BY foxsports • November 24, 2010

In few moments, Dirk Nowitzki made the deficit the Dallas Mavericks had been trying to eliminate all game long disappear.

Nowitzki nailed a 3-pointer in the corner, then converted a four-point play to spark a blur of a 10-point run in the Mavericks' 111-103 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

Nowitzki scored 34 points and teamed with Jason Terry teamed to score 10 straight points in a 57-second span to put Dallas up for good midway through the final period, and the Mavericks sealed it with a 12-0 run.

"What always helps in this league is making big shots, and we got hot at the right time," Nowitzki said.

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 32 points but was held in check in the fourth before two dunks with the game out of reach in the final minute. Jeff Green added 17 points, and Russell Westbrook had 13 points and 10 assists for the Thunder, who had a five-game winning streak snapped.

The Thunder played with the lead much of the night, but couldn't find a way to put away Dallas before fading in the fourth quarter for the second straight game.

Unlike two nights earlier in a win against Minnesota, Oklahoma City had no answer for a late 10-0 run.

Nowitzki came out of a timeout and rallied the Mavericks with back-to-back 3-pointers, getting fouled by Serge Ibaka at the right wing on the second one. He clapped his hands while seated on the floor, then stepped to the line for the tying free throw.

Terry followed with another 3 from the right wing that took a high bounce off the rim and fell in, putting Dallas up 93-90 with 6:26 to play.

"It was a nip-and-tuck game. Though they got up nine to 10, it didn't feel like it. It felt like it was a one-point ballgame the whole game, and defensively we just kept grinding it out and getting stops," Terry said.

"And all of a sudden our offense came alive there in the fourth quarter."

Westbrook stopped the bleeding momentarily with a layup, but Jason Kidd soon started another big run by Dallas with a 3-pointer. Tyson Chandler had a two-handed dunk that turned into a three-point play, and Nowitzki scored the final four points to push the lead to 107-93 with 1:51 remaining.

Chandler had season highs with 17 points and 18 rebounds in his biggest game since coming over from Charlotte in an offseason trade and then signing a six-year, $55 million contract.

Nowitzki said he was giving the game ball to Chandler, whose previous season highs were 12 points and 13 rebounds.

"He's been amazing, just his positive energy," Nowitzki said. "He's always the first one off the bench when he's not on the court. he's vocal in the locker room and he's been amazing to have around."

Chandler was in disbelief at Nowitzki's big baskets.

"I love it. I absolutely love it," Chandler said. "It catches me off-guard every single time because you just don't expect that."

Caron Butler added 15 points and Kidd had eight points and 12 assists to help the Mavs improve to 5-1 on the road.

Oklahoma City had squandered an 18-point lead to Minnesota on Monday night before closing with a 22-6 run to escape with that victory.

This time, the Thunder took the lead with a 10-0 run in the second quarter and went up 75-64 in the third quarter during a stretch when the Mavericks missed 13 straight shots.

Durant had only two points in the fourth quarter before his two meaningless scores at the end, coming on a putback of his own fast-break miss that gave the Thunder a 90-83 lead right before Nowitzki's heroics.

"They got hot. Let's face it," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "This is a good team. They hit a lot of 3s, and they were missing a lot of 3s early in the game."

NOTES: The Thunder had assists on their first 18 baskets, including nine by Westbrook, and matched the franchise's highest assist total (19) in a half since moving to Oklahoma City in 2008. ... After committing just eight turnovers in two of their previous three games, the Mavericks had seven in the first quarter but then only five the rest of the game. ... Oklahoma City sent center Cole Aldrich, the No. 11 pick in this year's draft, to its NBA Development League affiliate in Tulsa.