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Friday, April 1, 2011

Mavericks find rhythm in fourth

LOS ANGELES (AP) So much for Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd trying to call it an early night with the Lakers awaiting. The Los Angeles Clippers wouldn't allow it.

News photo
Swarmed: Jarret Jack of the Hornets puts up a shot against Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge (from left), Rudy Fernandez and Marcus Camby on Wednesday. New Orleans won 95-91. AP PHOTO

Both of Dallas' stars were needed in the fourth quarter, when the Mavericks rallied to win 106-100 Wednesday night and improve the NBA's best road record to 27-10.

Nowitzki scored 24 points playing nearly 37 minutes, including almost all of the fourth, to beat back the scrappy Clippers. Kidd was hoping to sit out the final period, but he was needed for 2 1/2 minutes to ensure Dallas secured its fifth straight win.

"We wanted to get some momentum going into tomorrow," Nowitzki said. "We had a good lead and didn't close the game out the way we wanted to."

The victory moved the Mavs within a half-game of the second-place Lakers in the West, with the No. 2 seed up for grabs when they play Thursday night.

"It's not the end of the world to be (No.) 3, but we're going for it," Nowitzki said.

He missed the first of two free throws midway through the period, snapping his streak of 74 in a row — longest in the league this season — that dated to the fourth quarter against Indiana on March 4.

Nowitzki got ample chance to make up for it, when Mo Williams was hit with consecutive technicals and ejected with 6:02 remaining and Nowitzki made both. Blake Griffin got a technical about 42 seconds earlier.

"We lost control of the game when we had all those technical fouls," Los Angeles guard Eric Gordon said. "That gave them a good run and those were free points we gave them. They just got a lot of calls."

Griffin had 25 points and 17 rebounds for his 57th double-double, and in the process set a franchise rookie record for most points in a season. He came off the bench in the fourth to erase most of the Clippers' 16-point deficit, scoring six points in an 11-0 run that left them trailing 96-91 with 3:20 left.

Jose Barea answered with five straight points to push the Mavs' lead to 101-91. He finished with 22 points. Kidd had 10 assists.

Heat 123, Wizards 107

In Washington, LeBron James finished with 35 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Dwyane Wade had 33 points and nine assists, and Chris Bosh scored 26, helping the Heat get past the Wizards and avoid what would have been a second consecutive embarrassing loss.

Washington was left without its best player when Wall and two Miami reserves — Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwan Howard — were kicked out of the game. The Heat led by as many as 13 before the Wizards managed to make it a one-point game in the fourth quarter. But Wade immediately responded with a three-point play, and Washington never again got closer than two.

Bulls 108, Timberwolves 91

In Minneapolis, Derrick Rose had 23 points and 10 assists in three quarters to help Chicago remain 2 1/2 games ahead of Boston and Miami in the race for the top seed in the East.

Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who recorded 31 assists on 41 field goals.

Hawks 85, Magic 82

In Atlanta, Joe Johnson's floating one-hander in the lane put the Hawks ahead with 55.4 seconds remaining and Orlando's Jameer Nelson missed two chances to tie it.

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 26 points, and Johnson added 18. Nelson paced Orlando with 20 points, but he missed a jumper with 38 seconds left, then badly on a drive with 6 seconds left.

Thunder 116, Suns 98

In Phoenix, Kevin Durant and James Harden scored 22 points to help Oklahoma City complete its best regular-season month in franchise history.

76ers 108, Rockets 97

In Philadelphia, Jrue Holiday had 24 points and 12 assists, and Thaddeus Young scored 22 points to lead the Sixers.

Hornets 95, Trail Blazers 91

In New Orleans, Carl Landry scored 21 points and the Hornets jumped ahead of Portland for sixth place in the Western Conference.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 15 rebounds for Portland, which is tied with New Orleans in the standings but has lost the tiebreaker with the Hornets having won three of four meetings.

Knicks 120, Nets 116

In New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points for the second straight game, including the tiebreaking jumper with 1:08 left, and the Knicks rallied from a 16-point deficit.

Chauncey Billups added 33 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points for New York.

Grizzlies 110, Warriors 91

In Memphis, Tony Allen scored 21 points to help assure the Grizzlies of their first winning season since 2005-06.

Pacers 111, Pistons 101

In Indianapolis, Darren Collison scored 20 points, Danny Granger added 17 and the Pacers used a 31-12 run in the second quarter to pull away.

Nuggets 104, Kings 90

In Denver, Ty Lawson scored 20 points, J.R. Smith and Danilo Gallinari had 17 each and the Nuggets won their fourth straight.

Marcus Thornton scored 27 and Tyreke Evans had 22 for Sacramento.

Bobcats 98, Cavaliers 97

In Charlotte, Boris Diaw scored 26 points and hit the tiebreaking free throw with 14 seconds left to lead the hosts.

Bucks 104, Raptors 98

In Toronto, Brandon Jennings scored 25 points, and Andrew Bogut and Drew Gooden both had double-doubles for Milwaukee.

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