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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mavs earn pivotal win


Houston — The Dallas Mavericks want the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, and they know they'll have to play better than they did on Monday night once the postseason begins.

Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points and 12 rebounds, and the Mavericks beat the Houston Rockets 98-91 in overtime to move a half game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 2 slot in the West.

Shawn Marion and Jason Terry scored 21 points each, and Tyson Chandler grabbed 12 rebounds for the Mavericks, who snapped a three-game road losing streak by beating Houston for the fourth straight time.

But it was hardly pretty.

Dallas committed 20 turnovers, went 4 for 17 from 3-point range and got outrebounded 52-49. But the Mavericks defense held Houston to 37 percent shooting (35 of 96) and only 20 points across the fourth quarter and overtime.

Our defense was solid all night, really," Nowitzki said.

"That really won us the game down the stretch. We didn't execute well, in flow. We didn't have a lot of stuff going on the fast break."

Kevin Martin had 28 points to lead the Rockets.

Heat 98, Hawks 90

In Atlanta, LeBron James scored 34 points and Miami locked up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win over the Hawks, who nearly rallied from a 20-point deficit while going with their backups in the fourth quarter.

Cavaliers 110, Pistons 101

In Auburn Hills, Mich., Daniel Gibson scored 17 points, including a five-point play late in the third quarter, and the Cavaliers won a testy game in which Ryan Hollins and the Pistons' Charlie Villanueva were ejected after a skirmish.

Magic 95, 76ers 85

In Philadelphia, Dwight Howard returned from a suspension to score 19 points and grab 13 rebounds, and Ryan Anderson added 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic.

Jazz 90, Hornets 78

In New Orleans, C.J. Miles and Devin Harris each scored 18 points, Paul Millsap added 16 and the Jazz won for only the second time in 12 games.

Bucks 93, Raptors 86

In Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings broke free for three straight fast-break scores to give Milwaukee the lead in the fourth quarter, and the Bucks held on to beat Toronto.

Bobcats 105, Nets 103

In Newark, N.J, D.J. Augustin hit a jumper with 1.1 seconds remaining, leading Charlotte over New Jersey.

Wizards 95, Celtics 94 (OT)

In Washington, Boston didn't play four of its usual starters, essentially setting aside its bid for a better playoff seed for the chance to give its top players some rest, and the result was an overtime loss to Washington that handed Miami the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference.

Nuggets 134, Warriors 111

In Denver, J.R. Smith's 22 points led nine Nuggets in double figures and Kosta Koufos tied his career high with 18 points in Denver's win over Golden State.

Suns 135, T-Wolves 127 (OT)

In Phoenix, Channing Frye sIcored a game-high 33 points and hit a 3-pointer with 2:05 left in overtime to start an 8-0 run and the Suns handed lowly Minnesota its 14th consecutive loss.

Thunder 120, Kings 112 (OT)

In Sacramento, Michael Beasley scored 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and Randolph added 24 for Minnesota, which led by 12 in the first half.

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