Nowitzki's 40 points leads Mavericks past Jazz

BY foxsports • March 3, 2012

DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki made his first shot Saturday night, then scored again. When he connected again on his third attempt, the Dallas Mavericks knew exactly what to do.

Nowitzki scored a season-high 40 points and the Mavericks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 102-96 victory against the Utah Jazz.

"His shot making was there from the very beginning and the guys knew that," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "They kept getting him the ball and he delivered all night long."

Nowitzki had 30 points when he went to the bench midway through the third quarter. It looked as if Nowitzki was going to relax the rest of the game as Dallas built a 23-point cushion in the fourth quarter.

The Jazz went on a big run to get within five points late. Nowitzki responded with a couple of big plays to help the Mavericks turn away the late rally.

"I had a good rhythm tonight," said Nowitzki, who scored 20 points in each half. "I had not been really been shooting the ball well, especially from 15 to 16 feet. I just wanted to be aggressive and my teammates kept feeding me."

Dallas forward Lamar Odom played for the first time after missing four games because of a family matter and personal reasons.

Odom was supposed to play Saturday night in the NBA Development League. Instead, he was recalled to play against the Jazz and scored nine points in 18 minutes. He also had five rebounds and blocked a season-high three shots.

"It was really personal, something I had to tend to," Odom said. "Mark Cuban is a great owner for understanding and knowing that sometimes we have to fix what's going on off the court in order for us to fix what's on the court."

Paul Millsap scored 24 points and Derrick Favors added 14 for Utah, which beat the Miami Heat 99-98 on Friday night.

In the opener of a five-game road trip, the Jazz fell to 3-13 away from home.

"We felt like we tried our best to contain them as much as possible," Millsap said. "But they hit some tough shots that took us out of the game."

Jason Terry scored 22 points as the Mavericks won the first time since Feb. 20.

Nowitzki, who scored 13 in a row for his team at one point, finished 14 for 21 from the floor and 9 for 10 from the line. His previous season high was 34 points against the New York Knicks on Feb. 19.

"It was tough losing a couple of games in a row," Nowitzki said. "We have to establish ourselves again."

The Jazz outscored the Mavericks 41-28 in the fourth quarter and went on a 24-8 run to cut Dallas' lead to 93-88 with 1:41 left.

Terry answered with a layup and Nowitzki hit four free throws to help Dallas push ahead 99-90 with 19.4 seconds left.

CJ Miles scored 13 points and Al Jefferson had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who have lost seven in a row to the Mavericks.

Utah was down 53-47 in the third quarter when Dallas broke the game open.

Nowitzki sparked a 21-8 run by banking in an off-balance, one-legged 3-pointer. The 2011 NBA finals MVP then hit another from long distance to stretch the lead to 12.

Odom drove for a layup and made a 3-pointer from the corner to put Dallas on top 69-55, and Terry scored the final five points of the third quarter.

Carlisle said before the game that Odom joined the team sooner than expected because the team needed another healthy player during a rugged stretch where it plays nine games in 12 days.

Odom had been set to play for the Texas Legends on Saturday night. He entered with 7:36 left in the first quarter to an ovation from the home fans.

Carlisle was happy with what he saw Saturday from Odom, who came into the game averaging 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

"It's by far the most energy he's played with the entire year," Carlisle said.

NOTES: Utah G Raja Bell (strained left adductor) missed his sixth straight game. . Dallas C Brandan Wright (concussion) did not play. Carlisle said Wright is day to day and there is no timetable for his return.