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Friday, April 20, 2012

Nowitzki lights up Rockets in fourth


DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki should have been tired after playing 96 minutes in consecutive overtime losses.

News photo
Fadeaway: Chris Paul of the Clippers puts up a jumper against the Nuggets in the third quarter on Wednesday night. Los Angeles downed Denver 104-98. AP

Instead, Nowitzki was at his best late when the Dallas Mavericks needed him most.

"The first half I was a step slow. Then I got going. The guys kept us in it," Nowitzki said. "The second half, guys were looking for me. I got some good looks and got into the game."

Nowitzki scored 31 of his 35 points in the second half, and 21 in the fourth quarter Wednesday night when the Mavericks rallied for a 117-110 victory over the Houston Rockets, whose playoff hopes took another blow with their fifth consecutive loss.

Jason Terry put Dallas ahead to stay with a 3-pointer that made it 93-92 with 7:37 left.

By the time Nowitzki completed a three-point play 3½ minutes later, the Mavs led 102-94. That wrapped up a 20-6 go-ahead run their 11-time All-Star forward started with consecutive 3-pointers.

Two nights after playing 53 minutes and scoring 40 points in a triple-overtime loss at Utah, Nowitzki was only 2-of-7 shooting with four points in the first half against the Rockets. He made eight of 11 shots after that.

Knicks 104, Nets 95

In Newark, New Jersey, Carmelo Anthony scored 21 of his 33 points in the first quarter, and New York beat the Nets in its final trip to New Jersey.

Celtics 102, Magic 98

In Boston, Paul Pierce had 29 points and a career-high 14 assists and the Celtics clinched the Atlantic Division title as they held off a late charge by Orlando.

Heat 96, Raptors 72

In Miami, LeBron James scored 28 points before taking the fourth quarter off, Mike Miller added 13 points and the Heat continued tuning up for the postseason by pulling away in the second half to beat Toronto.

Hawks 116, Pistons 84

In Atlanta, Tracy McGrady led six players in double figures and the playoff-bound Hawks built a 37-point lead in the first half on the way to a rout of Detroit.

Wizards 121, Bucks 112

In Washington, Jordan Crawford equaled a season-high with 32 points, and John Wall had 14 points and 10 assists as the Wizards dealt the Bucks a crucial defeat in their attempt for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

76ers 103, Cavaliers 87

In Cleveland, Jrue Holiday made five 3-pointers and scored 19 of his 24 points in the third quarter as Philadelphia kept its hold on a playoff spot with a win over the Cavaliers.

Grizzlies 103, Hornets 91

In Memphis, Rudy Gay scored 26 points and Mike Conley added 20 as the Grizzlies clinched a playoff berth for the second straight season with a victory over New Orleans.

Bulls 100, Bobcats 68

In Charlotte, Richard Hamilton scored 22 points in just 24 minutes as Chicago took a step closer to wrapping up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a rout of the Bobcats, who lost their 18th straight game.

Jazz 122, Trail Blazers 91

In Portland, Devin Harris had 27 points, including a career-high six 3s, and Utah continued to jockey for a playoff spot with a win over the Trail Blazers.

Clippers 104, Nuggets 98

In Denver, Kenyon Martin helped beat his old team with a tip-in and blocked shot in the final half-minute, leading Los Angeles past the Nuggets.

Thunder 109, Suns 97

In Phoenix, former Arizona State star James Harden scored a career-high 40 points, including 5 of 8 3-pointers, and Oklahoma City beat the Suns.

Spurs 127, Kings 102

In Sacramento, Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal scored 17 points each, leading San Antonio to a victory over the Kings.

Lakers 99, Warriors 97

In Oakland, Andrew Bynum had 31 points and nine rebounds, Pau Gasol recorded a triple-double (22 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) and Los Angeles rebounded from its worst loss of the season by beating Golden State.

For the Warriors, Klay Thompson scored 17 points and ex-Tokyo Apache player Jeremy Tyler had 15.

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